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Somaliland daily's imprisoned executives transferred to provincial jail

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has reiterated its appeal to the authorities in the northern breakaway state of Somaliland to release three newspaper journalists who have been held for several weeks and have just been moved from the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa to a provincial prison.

"The Somaliland government's inflexibility is dangerous," the press freedom organisation said. "It shows that the authorities are ready to commit any kind of abuse when journalists criticise the president and his associates. This aggressive use of the police and judicial system is liable to undermine the credibility of all the efforts since 1991 to turn Somaliland into a democratic enclave within Somalia."

The publisher of the privately-owned, Hargeisa-based daily "Haatuf", Yusuf Gabobe, and his editor, Ali Abdi Dini, were due to have appeared before a regional court in Hargeisa on 4 February 2007, but were transferred to a prison in Mandera, a small locality between Hargeisa and the coastal town of Berbera. They had previously been held at Hargeisa police headquarters since their arrest on 2 January.

"Haatuf"'s correspondent in Borame, Mohamed Omar, who was arrested at his home on 14 January and detained in the Kodbur police station in Hargeisa, has also been taken to Mandera. According to the staff of "Haatuf", Gabobe is in poor health and Mandera does not have the medical facilities he needs.

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