Somalia: Regional court orders four singers released from custody
Somaliland Informer reported on 30 September 2015 that a Hargeisa regional court has ordered the release of the four detained Horn Star singers who were arrested as they four days earlier had returned from a tour to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
Court chairman Hon. Ahmed Dalmar Ismail has issued a formal statement saying the police have failed to bring credible cases against the detained singers.
Somaliland Informer stated that “The four singers have been freed at last after human rights organizations, opposition groups and supporters have condemned the illegal arrest of the singers.”
Mareeg wrote that in social media, Somalis across the globe have criticised Somaliland authorities for the arrests.
The singers allegedly had faced charges of “national betrayal” because they had visited Mogadishu without permission and they had shared photos online which showed them wrapped in the blue Somali flag.
While in detention, one of the four musicians, Nimcaan Hilaac, managed to get access to the Internet via a mobile phone for a short period, and he reportedly stated on his Facebook page that soldiers had beaten him and his colleagues and taken away their cash during an interrogation the day after they were arrested.
“I am a Somali singer, I am musician for every Somali speaking person – They have confiscated $3500 money from me as ransom,” he said in one post, calling his fans to pray for his release.
Comments and suggestions
Underneath a youtube-video with a news report about the incident, a commenter suggested the possibility that the musicians may have refused to give the local authorities their cut of the money they earned out their music performances in Mogadishu, thus being arrested.
Oodweyne Media’s Ismail Luweyne commented that in his view, the arrest made the Somaliland government look like the South African government during the period of apartheid where it used to ban people’s political activities and arrest any citizen who stood against the government policy.
Freemuse has received information that Somaliland over the past months has been seeing an increasing trend in a new form of censorship of musicians: Somaliland authorities have allegedly been using musicians as bargaining chips to achieve political gains by restricting their movements in Somalia. The reason for this is a – some say misguided – perception that as long as Somaliland’s cultural unity with the rest of Somalia remains intact, Somaliland’s self-declared independence won’t yield any results.
» Somaliland Informer – 30 September 2015:
Somaliland: Hargeisa regional court orders the release of Horn Star singers-videos
» Mareeg – 29 September 2015:
Somalis condemn Hargeisa in social media for arresting singers
» Mareeg – 28 September 2015:
Detained musician alleges torture, robbery in Somaliland jail