The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International protests the charges brought against freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdnur Ibrahim over an unpublished interview with an alleged rape victim. Ibrahim, who has been detained since January 10, 2013, was charged on January 29 with insult to a national institution, publishing a media report and paying a bribe to create a false story. The charges are in connection with an interview Ibrahim conducted on January 6, 2013, with an internally displaced woman who alleged that she was raped by state security forces. Although the information Ibrahim obtained in the interview has not been published by any media outlet, Somali police reportedly believe him to be responsible for a similar story published by Al Jazeera English. Ibrahim has reported for several local and international news outlets including Badri Media Productions and the UK-based Daily Telegraph. PEN calls on the Somali authorities to drop the charges against Ibrahim and to release him immediately and unconditionally.
The alleged victim of rape has also been charged with insult to a national institution, and for falsifying an accusation against the Somali government.
Three other individuals have also been charged in connection with the case: the husband of the alleged victim, a woman believed to be a contact of the alleged victim, and a man believed to have been a contact of the journalist. They have been charged with assisting a suspected person and for assisting in obtaining a bribe.
On January 26, Abdiaziz Abdnur Ibrahim and others detained in relation to this case were moved to the central prison, where conditions are severe. Since their initial detention, they have had only intermittent access to lawyers.
It is understood that part of the evidence to support the charges is the medical records of the alleged victim of rape.
It is unclear whether any steps have been taken to respect the privacy of the alleged victim and protect her identity.
Appeals will be sent to authorities in Somalia: