Journalist to serve six months jail term over COVID-19 reporting damaging the reputation of the Farmajo

A court in Mogadishu has sentenced a journalist to six months in jail and a fine of $200 for his reporting of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Banadir regional court slapped. Outlet media editor Abdiaziz Gurbiye with the jail term after it found him guilty of ‘publishing false information’ using a 1964 law.

According to Somali Journalists Syndicate, a local journalists’ pressure group, the journalist was immediately taken to the Central Jail in Mogadishu to serve his sentence. SJS however, noted lawyers for the journalist were exploring the option of substituting the jail term with a fine. Gurbiye was first arrested in April this year over Facebook posts criticizing the government over the manner in which it was handling the COVID-19 response.

The charges which included ‘damaging the reputation of the President’ Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo were later amended.

According to CPJ’s. This conviction, in a case that should never have been entertained by the courts, is not only an injustice against one journalist but a deep betrayal of the entire Somali media community,” said CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, Muthoki Mumo. “Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye should be released immediately, and the government should make good on its pledge to reform the county’s penal code to ensure that journalists are not prosecuted for their work.”