President of the breakaway republic of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud has pardoned journalist Abdimalik Coldoon, who had been jailed for promoting unionist views that violated the sovereignty of Somaliland.
Coldoon was arrested in Hargeisa, Somaliland upon his return from Mogadishu in mid-February. The Somaliland journalist had visited Mogadishu to cover the national elections – in which Somaliland did not take part. While there he interviewed politicians including the now president of Somalia, among others, which he posted on social media.
He was charged with anti-national activity and violating the sovereignty and secession of Somaliland. The presiding judge during his trial quoted article 328 on publication or circulation of false, exaggerated or tendentious news capable of disturbing public order and also the article 220 on “offending the honor or prestige of the head of state.”
The Somaliland Court in Hargeisa sentenced Coldoon to two years in jail on April 8th. Somalia’s National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemned the two year jail term sentence as ‘draconian’ and met with the Somaliand president to demand Coldoon’s release.
Today in a statement the union welcomed the pardon and release of the journalist. “We are glad that our colleague Abdimalik Muse Coldoon finally got his freedom back and welcome his release,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, the Secretary General of the NUSOJ on Thursday.
“While we are extremely pleased that Abdimalik Muse Coldoon was released, he should not have spent even a single day in jail,” added Mahir Jam Aden NUSOJ President, urging the Somaliland government to allow the press to do their work without harassment.
Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia on May 18th, 1991. No country has officially recognized Somaliland’s independence.
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