The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomes the ruling passed by Somalia’s military tribunal which made a judgment on journalist’s murder case.
The military tribunal today found guilty a suspected journalist’ killer Adan Sheikh Abdi Sheikh Hussein for murdering journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge in Mogadishu. The tribunal sentenced Hussein to death sentence.
The court freed Abdi Hassan Dhuhulow who was accused of assisting Hussein in the plot to kill Absuge as “there was no proof to corroborate the alleged role Dhuhulow played in this case”.
“Due to abundant evidences and witnesses that Adan Sheikh Abdi Sheikh Hussein killed Hassan Yusuf Absuge” said judge Abdullahi Mohamed Muse, also known Keyse, who announced the verdict against Hussein. Judicial sources told NUSOJ that Hussein, who is an Al-Shabaab fighter, made admission of carrying out the crime with the hope that the sentence will be reduced and claimed that he was ill-advised.
Somali government put Hussein a military tribunal after giving him “combatant status”. Mobile phone that Hussein used during the operation, where messages demonstrating the instructions he was given to kill the journalist as well as messages showing his report back to his rulers that he executed the operation, were seen by the court.
The National Intelligence and Security Agency, who arrested Hussein, was in possession of the pistol Hussein used to kill Absuge as well as Hussein’s shirt with the blood of the journalist after he was shot in the head.
“We hail this verdict which is indeed a justice served for our colleague Hassan Yusuf Absuge and his family,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “We hope that justice will be similarly done for colleagues who were murdered by criminals who are not afraid of rule of law”.
Hassan Yusuf Absuge, head of programme at Radio Maanta, was shot dead by men armed with pistols at the Bar Ayaan junction in Mogadishu on 21 September 2012. Absuge died on the spot.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for killing Absuge because he was working as “spy” against “Allah’s forces.” Absuge, a well-known radio journalist who was a member of the union, was the thirteenth journalist to be murdered in Somalia in 2012.
This case is the first of its kind that Somali authorities resolved a journalist’s murder case.
NUSOJ commends federal government of Somalia for taking this encouraging step and urges to pursue other killers of journalists who are still enjoying impunity.
“This verdict sends a powerful message to perpetrators of crimes against journalists that their crimes will not remain unpunished,” added Osman.