Journalist Gets Six-Year Prison Term in Somaliland for Interviewing Man with Al-Qaeda Links

On August 14, 2010, in Somalia’s Puntland State, a court convicted a journalist affiliated with a Bosaso-based radio station of violation of Puntland’s anti-terrorism laws, for conducting an interview with a local rebel leader with links to Al-Qaeda. Bosaso is a port town in Puntland. The court imposed a six-year prison term and a fine of US$500. The trial was said to have been closed to the public, and to have lasted only a few minutes (id.).

The Puntland Anti-Terrorism Law, which reportedly confers increased power on the state’s security apparatus and courts to arrest and sentence individuals suspected of terrorism, was enacted by the 66-member Puntland Parliament only 25 days before the sentencing of the journalist, on July 20, 2010. The journalist most likely was charged under the provisions of this newly enacted law.

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