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Somali journalists urge fair trial for colleagues

18 August 2014, 11:40

Mogadishu - Somalia's journalist union on Monday urged the government to ensure a fair trial of three colleagues arrested last week when security forces stormed a major radio station for "negative" broadcasts.

Radio Shabelle and its sister station Sky FM were shut down Friday after they were reportedly critical of a military operation to disarm a militia leader in the capital Mogadishu that escalated into heavy gun battles.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said journalists had been accused of "incitement".

Sixteen workers, including journalists, technicians and guards, were released on Sunday, but the station remains off the air.

But radio station owner Abdimalik Yusuf Mohamud, Sky FM director Mohamud Mohamed Dahir, and Shabelle deputy news editor Ahmed Abdi Hassan remain in police custody, NUSOJ said.

"The charges against them have not been publicly released," the union said in a statement, urging the government to "provide fair trial".

Radio Shabelle has been briefly shut by the government at least three times in recent years.

It has also been threatened by Somalia's hardline Shebab fighters over its reporting, and several of its journalists and two of its directors have been killed.

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