Breakaway Somaliland region jails female poet for Somalia unity calls

Hargeisa, Somalia – A court in Somalia’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland on Sunday sentenced a female activist and poet to three years in jail for what it said was “endangering the region’s bid for independence”.

Naima Abwan Qorane was detained on 27 February at Igal International airport on her return from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and charged with “anti-national activity and violating the sovereignty of Somaliland”, local Garowe Online news service reported.

“We are very concerned about the conviction and sentence of Naima. Freedom of expression is enshrined and protected by the constitution of Somaliland,” said Guled Ahmed Jama, director of Human Rights Centre in Hargeisa, the regional capital.

The rights group has requested the government of Somaliland to immediately release of Naima who, until lately, was living in Mogadishu and last year she met Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Prior to her arrest, Naima claimed she had received death threats and warnings in relation to her advocacy for national unity of Somalia. She attended TEDx gatherings in Mogadishu where she presented her Somali Unity poems to the audience.

Somaliland declared its independence in 1991 following the fall of the former military regime, but it has remained unrecognized by the international community.

The region has in recent times clamped down heavily on anyone campaigning against what it calls “Somaliland sovereignty.”

In February 2017, a well-known local journalist and blogger, Abdi Malic Muse Oldoon, was arrested on his return from Mogadishu for meeting with Somalia’s President Farmajo after his election.
-0- PANA AR 15April2018

15 avril 2018 18:12:19

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