15 June 2004


Journalist from "Le Renouveau" newspaper arrested

Incident details

Houssein Ahmed Farah


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(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ press release:

The IFJ condemns latest arbitrary arrest in Djibouti

The International Federation of Journalists has condemned the arbitrary arrest of Houssein Ahmed Farah, a journalist with Le Renouveau newspaper. Police officers arrested Farah on Tuesday 8 June 2004 at around noon in the capital, Djibouti city.

Houssein Ahmed Farah was detained in a police station cell for over four days, far exceeding the legal limit of 96 hours for holding persons in custody. The journalist was then transferred to Gabode central prison, on the outskirts of the capital. He was placed in solitary confinement in what is considered to be the penitentiary's harshest cell block, with temperatures exceeding 45°C, no running water, minimal ventilation, and sewer water surrounding the cells. Farah is not being allowed any visits or contact with other persons.

The journalist was returning from Djibouti city's Arhiba neighbourhood, where he was on assignment, when police ordered him to stop his vehicle during the passage of Kadra Mahamoud's procession. Mahamoud is the wife of head of state Isamel Omar Guellehto.

Farah was charged with "endangering the First Lady's procession".

Houssein Ahmed Farah is the brother of Daher Ahmed Farah, editor-in-chief and managing editor of Le Renouveau, who has been frequently jailed by the authorities on trumped up charges. In 2003, he was jailed in Gabode prison several times, and legal action aimed at closing his paper is currently underway in Djibouti's Supreme Court.

The IFJ has asked the Djibouti authorities to release Houssein Ahmed Farah without delay and end attacks on free expression.


International Federation of Journalists
International Press Centre, Residence Palace
Bloc C, second floor, Rue de la Loi, 155
1040 Brussels, Belgium

Fax:+ 32 2 2352219
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