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Media Watchdog Protests Journalist's Arrest in Puntland

The Paris-based media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Thursday sent a protest letter to the President of Puntland State in Somalia, Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, following the arrest of journalist Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed.

In the letter, a copy of which was given to PANA in Paris, RSF's general secretary, Robert Menard, urged Col. Ahmed "to do everything in his power to ensure that the journalist was released".

The journalist arrested is the Editor-in-Chief of the private weekly, Sahan. Menard said in a statement that the journalist did no more than exercise his right to inform the public, as stipulated under Article 6.2 of the 'Charter for Puntland State'.

The RSF secretary general said police in Bossasso, a regional state of Puntland, arrested the editor on 11 July. He was beaten then taken to the port of the town and put in a container.

RSF said the journalist wrote articles in support of the on-going Somali peace talks in Djibouti, criticising the Puntland "government" for boycotting the talks aimed at restoring a central government in Somalia.

Puntland has refused to attend the talks, which were initiated by President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and which started on 2 May.

Reporters Sans Frontières also recalled that three other journalists, Abdulkadir Ali, Mohamed Deeq, who work for the Sahan weekly and Ahmed Mohamed Ali who writes for Mandeeq were detained in Puntland in August 1999.



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