Calls for justice after Somali journalist murdered by police

Calls for justice after Somali journalist murdered by police
Worldwide anger erupted over the killing of 20-year-old journalist Abdirisaq Qasim Iman by a policeman in Somalia.
2 min read
28 July, 2018
Abdirisaq Qasim Iman was shot dead by police on [Twitter]
Worldwide anger spurred after a Somali journalist was shot dead by security forces, in the first fatality of its kind this year.

Abdirisaq Qasim Iman, 20, was killed by police near a security checkpoint police near Peace Garden in Mogadishu’s Hamar Jajab district on his way from work on Thursday. 

Eyewitnesses said Iman got into a confrontation with the police when they told him to take a different route on his motorbike. He was visibly a member of the press and had his broadcasting equipment and camera on him. 

The police officer began pointing his gun at the Iman and his media equipment. Iman allegedly asked the policeman to stop - with the police officer responding saying he can easily blow his head off.

After the short confrontation, a policeman fired two shots at Iman’s head, killing him at the scene.

The slain journalist worked for London-based Somali Broadcasting Services (SBS).

His death spurred anger worldwide with people calling for justice for Iman.

The secretary-general of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) called for justice and said the union has become tired of worn-out lip service by the Mogadishu government.

“This is a shocking murder and we demand the government to give top priority to bring the killer to justice. We are tired of few meaningless words of regret and a cursory inquiry. Family and colleagues of Abdirisaq Qasim Iman must receive justice,” Omar Faruk Osman said.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) also expressed outrage, vowing to work with the NUSOJ for justice.

"We are outraged about this cold blood and totally unprovoked killing of another journalist in Somalia", IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger said.

"The Somali Government must leave no stone unturned to arrest the killer and ensure he faces the full force of the law, which is the only way to end the culture of impunity that runs across the country and fuels attacks on journalists. We will work together with NUSOJ to demand justice for Iman”.

Safe to kill journalists

Press freedom groups have consistently branded Somalia as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

Reporters Without Borders say journalists are victim to both al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab militants and institutional governmental corruption. 

International organisations have also found that little is done to protect journalists and bring perpetrators of those who murder them to justice. 

A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) showed that Somalia is ranked number one in the Global Impunity Index, with nearly 30 journalists’ murders having gone unprosecuted over the past decade.