Somalia: UN envoy deplores killing of prominent comedian and media worker

Special Representative Augustine Mahiga. UN Photo/Stuart Price

2 August 2012 – The United Nations envoy for Somalia has strongly condemned the killing of prominent Somali comedian and media worker Abdi Malaq Jeylani, and called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Almost every month we mourn a victim in the Somali media world. This is simply unacceptable,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Augustine Mahiga, said in a news release.

“I call again on the Somali authorities to take immediate action and do all that is necessary to conduct a full and independent investigation into this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice,” added Mr. Mahiga, who also heads the UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS).

Mr. Jeylani, also known as “Marshale,” was reportedly shot to death in front of his house in the capital, Mogadishu, by two unknown assailants on Tuesday.

The Special Representative noted that, despite promises, there has been “little to minimum progress” on the investigations of crimes against media professionals.

“I call again on the relevant authorities to protect the journalists in the country and safeguard their work. UNPOS stands ready to assist towards this end,” he said. “The cycle of impunity must end.”

Yesterday, lawmakers in the Horn of Africa nation adopted the Provisional National Constitution, completing an important milestone towards ending the current transitional period that is scheduled to conclude on 20 August.

The provisional constitution “clearly stipulates the right to freedom of expression and opinions, including freedom of speech and freedom of the media in all forms,” UNPOS pointed out.

In addition, the Transitional Federal Government held a constitutional conference in May on freedom of expression, during which Somali leaders expressed their uncompromising support to media freedom and raised the need to enhance the judicial system.

After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country’s Transitional Federal Institutions currently implementing the so-called Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia, devised in September last year, that spells out priority measures to be carried out before the country’s transitional governing arrangements end in 18 days’ time.

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