The Human Rights Centre, Hargeisa has condemned the continued arbitrary arrests and detention of opposition leaders pushing for presidential elections to be held by November.
The Human Rights Center said the government is holding six opposition leaders contrary to the law. The six are are Yusuf Nuh Yusuf, Hassan Abdi Mohammed, Mawlid Kayse Mohamoud, Yusuf Ali Osman, Mukhtar Yusuf Ahmed, and Abdalle Kahnug Aidid.
They were arrested three days prior to the demonstrations that transpired on 11/8/2022 in Hargeisa. They were subsequently transferred to Baki Prison in Awdal region on 9/8/2022. Access to Baki prison is difficult and prevents family and friends that wish to visit the alleged accused persons, due to the difficult terrain and location of the prison.
In a statement signed by the Human Rights Centre chairman Yasmin Omar H. Mohamoud, the pressure group said some of the accused individuals are suffering from health complications and do not have access to medication, thereby forcing them on a hunger strike for health reasons and creating activism for their freedom.
“Mukhtar Yusuf Ahmed was assaulted upon arrest, leaving him with physical scars and wounds from the assault, and others suffer from issues related to the transport process. Most of the members wanted to reveal further information, however, the Centre interviewed them under duress. We were not given privacy to interview them alone,” the Human Rights Center stated.
The statement further added: “They were remanded for seven days as is procedure, however, the remand period has expired. They were arrested without a warrant on the premise of planning the protest, disrupting the process of proper procedure. They have not been brought forth to court or to a judge while the remand process continues. Article 47(3) of the Somaliland Criminal Procedure Code states that “Until the date of the trial has been fixed, an accused in custody shall be brought before the judge every seven days.” Nevertheless, they have not been brought to court or the judge after the first initial court appearance. Article 25(1)(2) stipulate that individuals cannot be deprived of their liberty and/or searched, arrested, and detained without reasonable grounds by a judge.”
“The Human Rights Centre continues to reiterate the need for rule of law to be followed in Somaliland.”
“Additionally, there are still many other individuals arrested for protesting during the 11/8/2022 demonstrations that have not been brought to court as well in different regions of Somaliland. The Centre regrets that a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution has been treated as a criminal behavior.” Mohamoud said in the statement that protests, demonstrations, and freedom of expressions are rights granted in the Somaliland Constitution that must be protected by the government and judiciary system. “We call on Somaliland government for their immediate release and the need for an independent committee that can oversee an investigation on the arrests and arbitrary detention of opposition members.”