Somali poetess jailed for poetry

This 2017 video is about Somali poetess Nacima Qorane reading a poem.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Somaliland: Three-year jail sentence for poet who read unity poem

POET Nacima Qorane has been jailed for three years in Somaliland after being found guilty of contempt for reading a unity poem.

She received the sentence in the self-declared republic after she called for Somaliland and Somalia to be reunited.

Prosecutors said she had referred to Somaliland as “a region” and “insulted and defamed its government” by reading the poem in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The court found that she had brought the state into contempt.

Home to about 4 million people, the area in the north-west of Somalia was formerly a British protectorate, uniting with the former Italian colony in 1960 to form the Somali Republic. It declared its independence in 1991 following a bitter civil war but is not recognised internationally, being seen as an autonomous region of the country.

In February Somaliland allowed the United Arab Emirates to open a military base to launch strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the country’s ongoing civil war.

Ms Qorane was arrested in January after returning from the Somali capital and rights groups have raised concerns over her treatment.

A number of artists and reporters have been sentenced for similar offences as Somaliland’s government cracks down on opposition voices and press freedom.

Journalists Mohamed Abdilaahi Dabshid and Ahmed Dirie Liltire were sentenced to two years in prison in January for reporting that Ethiopian militants were training in Somaliland. Others have received jail terms for spreading so-called false news.

Somaliland’s Human Rights Centre called for the immediate release of Ms Qorane yesterday and said it was “very concerned” about her conviction.

Guleid Ahmed Jama said: “Freedom of expression is enshrined and protected by the constitution of Somaliland. We urge the government of Somaliland to respect its own constitution.”

1 thought on “Somali poetess jailed for poetry

  1. SOMALI poet Naema Ahmed Ibrahim has been released from prison after receiving a pardon from Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi.

    She was detained in January and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “bringing the country into contempt” for writing poetry that advocated the reunification of Somalia and Somaliland.

    Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but it is only recognised as an autonomous region by the international community.

    There has been an escalating clampdown on critical voices, with the arrest and detention of activists and writers advocating unity with Somalia. At least 12 journalists are believed to have been arrested since December 2017.

    Somaliland Human Rights Centre director Guleid Ahmed Jama welcomed the release, while expressing concerns over violations of freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution.

    “I am glad that poet Naema Ahmed Ibrahim has been released on a presidential pardon. She should not have been arrested in the first place. Freedom of speech is protected by the constitution and international human rights law,” he said.


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