Reporters Without Borders calls on interior minister Hassan Darar Houffaneh and justice minister Ali Farah Assoweh to immediately reveal why La Voix de Djibouti correspondent Houssein Ahmed Farah was arrested two days ago, where he is being held and what his current status is.
"According to our information, Farah is still at Djibouti’s central police station, where he is being refused visits," Reporters Without Borders said. "No reason has so far been given for his detention. It is intolerable that we are still without any news of this journalist 48 hours after his arrest."
Reporters Without Borders continues to be concerned about his state of health.
Farah was arrested at around 11 a.m. on 8 August in Djibouti-Ville by two police officers, Col. Abdoulkader Ibrahim Gona and Col. Abdillahi Hassan Boulaleh.
Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile learned that Djibouti’s authorities have just blocked access to five Somali news websites – Waagacusub.com, Sunatimes.com, Galmudugnews.com, Halbeegnews.com and Qurbejoog.com.
Waagacusub.com recently posted confidential documents about transfers of money between Djibouti’s intelligence services and officials in Somaliland, a breakaway Somali territory that adjoins Djibouti.
This is not the first time Djibouti’s authorities have blocked news websites. The former web radio Farah works for and which is now a news website – La Voix de Djibouti (lavoixdedjibouti.com) – cannot be accessed from within Djibouti. To circumvent this censorship, Reporters Without Borders created a mirror site (lavoixdedjibouti.rsf.org) that enables Internet users in Djibouti to access the website. La Voix de Djibouti’s website recently posted some of the confidential documents that had been revealed by Waagacusub.com.
2012.08.08 - Police arrest news website reporter, looking for colleague
Reporters Without Borders has learned that Houssein Ahmed Farah, a reporter for the opposition news website La Voix de Djibouti, was arrested at around 11 a.m. today in the capital, Djibouti-Ville, and is being held in a cell at the main police station.
The media freedom organization has also been told that the police are looking for another La Voix de Djibouti reporter, Farah Abadid Hildid. La Voix de Djibouti is a former web radio operated by exiles based in Europe and is now a news website.
"The authorities have given no reason for arresting Farah and we urge them to free him at once." Reporters Without Borders said. "We are very concerned about his detention as he is diabetic and was observing the Ramadan fast. Given the current heat and tough detention conditions in Djibouti, this incident could have serious consequences for his health."
Farah is a member of the Djibouti Human Rights League and the Movement for Democratic Renewal and Development, an opposition party led by his brother Daher Ahmed Farah. He has been arrested several times in the past, most notably in 2004 and 2011.
Outside Djibouti, Internet users can visit La Voix de Djibouti’s website at the following address (www.lavoixdedjibouti.com). It is blocked inside the country but Internet users there can nonetheless have access to it by going to the Reporters Without Borders mirror site (www.lavoixdedjibouti.rsf.org).
photo : Houssein Ahmed Farah