PEN International welcomes the March 3, 2013, reduction of Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim’s prison sentence on appeal from one year to six months for interviewing a woman allegedly raped by security forces. PEN also welcomes the acquittal of the alleged rape victim. However, it continues to call for Ibrahim’s conviction to be quashed and for his immediate and unconditional release.

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Background Information

On March 3, 2013, the Somali Court of Appeal reduced the prison sentence of Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, a freelance journalist who has reported for several local and international news outlets including Dalsan Radio, Badri Media Productions and the UK-based Daily Telegraph, from one year to six months. Ibrahim was convicted of insulting a government body, spreading false news, and inducing false evidence, among other charges, in February 2013. The judge presiding over the appeal reportedly stated that Ibrahim had not respected the laws of the country and the ethics of journalism by failing to report his interview with the alleged rape victim to the authorities, which meant that his conviction for offending the state and spreading “false news” was upheld.

Sentenced on February 5, 2013, Ibrahim was immediately transferred to a central Mogadishu prison to serve his one-year jail term. The charges stem from Ibrahim’s investigation into the alleged rape of an internally displaced woman by state security forces. The information Ibrahim gained from his January 2013 interview has reportedly not been published by any media outlet. However, Somali authorities believe that he is responsible for two separate stories detailing allegations of rape made by women in Mogadishu camps published in early January by Universal TV—a local television station—and Al Jazeera’s web site. Al Jazeera has publicly dismissed such claims, denying Ibrahim’s involvement with their organisation or either story.
Under Somali law, it is not illegal to conduct an interview nor is there a legal prerequisite for alerting the authorities after conducting interviews. According to reports, the judge presiding over Ibrahim’s appeal failed to specify the law under which the journalist had been found guilty. The judge reportedly made reference only to Ibrahim’s lack of respect for national laws including the Somali media law, a draft law that has not yet entered into force, and did not mention the fact that Ibrahim’s conviction was the result of his alleged involvement with the Al Jazeera report. 

Write A Letter

  • Welcoming the reduction of freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim’s prison sentence on appeal from one year to six months and the acquittal of the alleged rape victim whom Ibrahim interviewed;
  • Calling on the Somali authorities to quash Ibrahim’s conviction and to release him immediately and unconditionally;
  • Calling upon the Somali authorities to allow Ibrahim full access to lawyers, doctors, and family members, until such time as he is released.

Send Your Letter To


Minister of Interior and National Security
H.E. Abdikaram Hussein Guled
Ministry of Interior
Mogadishu, Somalia
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister of Justice
H.E. Abdullahi Abyan Nur
Ministry of Justice
Mogadishu, Somalia
Salutation: Dear Minister
State Minister of the Presidential Palace
H.E Farah Sheikh Abdulkader
Office of the President
Mogadishu, Somalia
Salutation: Dear Minister
Please send also appeals to the diplomatic representative for Somalia in your country if possible.
***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 11 May 2013***