Friday March 11,
2016 - Al
Shaabab sympathiser and journalist is sentenced to death
by a court in Somalia. Echoes of what happened in Sierra
Leone during junta rule in 1997/98.
man who has been described as a respected broadcaster
and journalist in Somalia for many years has been
sentenced to death by firing squad for his alleged role
in supporting the terrorist organisation Al-Shaabab.
Hassan Hanafi, it is alleged, used his connection with
Al-Shaabab to finger colleague journalists - threatening
them with death should they fail to fall in line with
the edict of Al-Shaabab.
profile of Hassan Hanafi
on the BBC website Abdinoor Aden had this -
"Hassan Hanafi was a respected reporter and broadcaster
in Somalia for many years. Now, he has been sentenced to
death by firing squad for colluding with Islamist
militant group al-Shabab in the murder of five fellow
journalists between 2007 and 2011.
Hanafi was born in the central Hiran region of Somalia
in the early 1980s. When his family moved to Europe in
the 1990s, he was the only one who stayed behind.
From 2003, he became a household name to many radio
listeners in Somalia after joining popular Quran FM
station in the capital Mogadishu.
He left in 2006 to
become an online reporter for a leading Somali website.
A few years later, signs of his affiliation to al-Shabab
emerged as he became the major source of all breaking
news or reaction from the militant group.
It would deny
the loss of its members and claim victory through
interviews with him on its propaganda station Radio Andalus.
He ran a secret bureau, monitoring news and threatening
any reporter who spoke out against al-Shabab or
portrayed the group in a bad light.
He would summon the offending journalists to meet him at
Some were killed on the spot while others wisely
declined and went on to flee the country.
Nearly all the murders had a similar pattern. The
victims were shot from close range in the streets or at
a hotel. Others had explosive devices planted on their
Often when a journalist was killed, Hanafi would be
among the first to arrive at the scene or to confirm the
In 2010, the killing of Sheikh Noor Mohamed, a senior
journalist at Radio Mogadishu, caused widespread shock.
Hanafi admitted that he planned it, saying Mohamed had
been killed because he worked for the government.
In 2011, an al-Shabab court found Hanafi guilty of an
unspecified crime, and ordered his limbs to be
However, the sentence was never carried out because of
the service he had provided to the militants over the
In 2014, he was arrested by police in neighbouring
Kenya, where he had fled, and was then extradited to
The death of reporters in Somalia has significantly
reduced since his arrest."
Reuters news agency
had this as part of its report on the sentencing of
Hassan Hanafi -
"Hasan Ali, chairman of the Somali military court, told
reporters that Hassan Hanafi had admitted to killing one
reporter and had been found guilty of killing five
"He will be put to death as soon as possible," Ali said.
Hanafi, 30, has said he joined al Shabaab in 2008 when
he was working as a journalist for a local Somali
broadcaster. He was arrested in neighboring Kenya last
year and then returned to Somalia for trial.
He had been promoted to commander in 2009. The following
year, he was seriously injured in fighting.
"Al Shabaab killed many journalists but personally I
killed only one," Hanafi said after the sentence was
announced. "But I am indifferent if you kill me. You
will see if killings will stop even after my death."
Daily Mail noted -
"The 30-year-old showed no emotion as he was led away by
When the sentence was handed down, he said: 'Al-Shabab
killed many journalists but personally I killed only
one. The court heard Hanafi was either partly, or directly
responsible, for the deaths of journalists Mahad Ahmed
Climi, Ali Iimaan Sharmaake, Said Tahliil Ahmed, Muktaar
Mohammmed Hiraabe and Sheekh Nuur Abkeey.
His trial attracted significant attention from local
journalists, who hope the sentence will send a message
to extremists who have made Somalia one of the most
dangerous places for journalists to work.
More than 25 reporters have been murdered in the country
since 2007, the Committee to Protect Journalists said."
The likes of Hassan Hanafi were also to
be found in Sierra Leone during those terrible days of
junta occupation led by one Johnny Paul Koroma.
Human rights abuses were the calling
card of a junta that used murder, rape, abduction and
massive looting sprees not only to make itself
comfortable in power, but to cower any and all who dare
oppose the rabid band of former soldiers and their
allies, the even more murderous Revolutionary United
Front, the RUF.
They had been invited to swell the
ranks of the May 25 coup makers who feared that, they
not having enough support among men in uniform, it would
be inevitable that they would soon see them kicked out
of power. This was even more aggravated with civilians
and some sections of the armed forces and police
refusing to work with the junta because of their lawless
and murderous tactics.
were journalists who did not only drink from the bloody
cup of the murderous junta but kept their supply of fuel
and looted vehicles by fingering journalists perceived
to be against the junta. Fuel chits were supplied that
ensured that the looted vehicles gifted to them were
ready to be used in the service of the junta as one
David Tam Baryoh witnessed when he was arrested.
The vehicle in which he was kept while
on the way to the custody of the junta was followed by
one Ibrahim Seaga Shaw of the Expo Times newspaper, one
of a few regarded by all within and outside the country
as a mouthpiece and supporter of the murderous junta.
The journalists rights organisation, IFEX,
had this as part of its
update on events in Sierra
Leone during the reign of the beasts.
"On 8 October, freelancer Donald Davis
was arrested and detained at Pademba road prison on
charges of subversion. That same day, three armed men
and a civilian of the Criminal Investigation Division
(CID) came to the residence of "Punch" newspaper editor
David Tambaryoh to arrest him for aggravated assault of
Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, editor of the "Expo Times".
Tambaryoh was charged with subversion.
The men claimed that the arrest was ordered by one
Lieutenant Jalloh and the President's office, via a Mr.
Njauja, head of the CID. Tambaryoh refused to leave his
house until they presented an arrest warrant.
The soldiers left his house and returned
in fifteen minutes without a warrant, a truck-load of
soldiers and a taxi to escort Tambaryoh to the CID
offices. Shaw, who has developed close ties with the
military junta, followed the convoy.
At the CID, Tambaryoh was informed that Shaw filed the
assault charges and that the subversive activity charges
were a result of his alleged communication with ousted
President Kabbah, Ambassador to the United Nations James
Jonah, and Ambassador John Ernest Leigh in Washington to
whom Tambaryoh was accused of forwarding sensitive
He denied all charges but was detained
for 72 hours on 10 October.
This account from the pages of
Amnesty International published in
1997 gives a vivid picture of life under
junta rule with journalists close to the murderers and
rapists living off the fat of the land as they fed the
junta with any and all falsehood the junta operatives
would love to hear about the activities of other
journalists perceived to be against junta rule.
"As with other critics of the military
coup and the AFRC, journalists soon became the targets
for threats, ill-treatment, arrest and detention.
On 3 July 1997 the Sierra Leone
Association of Journalists (SLAJ) issued a statement
saying that it was committed to the restoration of
democratic and constitutional rule and the speedy
restoration of the elected government of Sierra Leone.
The same month SLAJ condemned the AFRC
for its unprecedented harassment and intimidation of
journalists. In September 1997 the AFRC announced that
newspapers were required to obtain permission before
publishing. It also ordered all newspapers to register
officially within six days or cease publication, citing
the Newspapers Act of 1980. It subsequently allowed
those newspapers which had legally registered before 25
May 1997 to continue to publish until the end of the
During the week of 9 June 1997, some two weeks after the
military coup, Ojukutu Macaulay, editor of The Quill
newspaper and also the host of a live radio broadcast,
"Good morning, Freetown", was reported to have gone into
hiding after being confronted by a group of soldiers.
According to reports, a few hours
earlier he had had a conversation with another
journalist during which he apparently stated that he did
not and would not support the military coup. As he
returned home, a group of soldiers confronted him and
threatened to kill him if he continued to denounce the
military coup. (This gives you a picture of the
situation under junta rule where conversations with
junta-allied journalists were routinely reported to the
Also in early June 1997
journalists working for For di People newspaper were
threatened following articles critical of the AFRC.
A correspondent for the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Sylvester Rogers, based
in Makeni, Northern Province, was also reported to have
gone into hiding in June 1997 after soldiers sought to
locate him after he filed reports critical of the AFRC.
Several months later, in early October
1997, he was reported to have been arrested and severely
beaten and his passport seized.
Four members of staff of the newspaper
Unity Now were arrested on 26 July 1997 by soldiers
following an article critical of the AFRC.
According to reports, Dominic Lamine,
deputy editor, Sahr Mbayoh, news editor, and two women
employees were arrested on 26 July 1997. They were held
at Cockerill military headquarters where they were
denied all visits. The two women and Sahr Mbayoh were
released on 30 July 1997 and Dominic Lamine three days
later. The newspaper's editor, Frank Kposowa, also
president of SLAJ, went into hiding for a brief period."
The junta journalists are still very
active now that AFRC Mk II (read APC party) is in power
as a political party. They are the brains behind the
rat's propaganda machine and they lobby their masters
and finger journalists that should be harassed by the
Why do you think
that despite David Tam Baryoh's pro-government stance
when AFRC Mk II emerged in 2007 and was the master
mouthpiece for the 2012 campaign re-election bid was
seen as the enemy?
The junta journalists have not
forgiven him for opposing the murderous junta that
seized power in 1997. They had never wanted him in their
ruling camp never mind his love and support for Sam
Sumana, the elected Vice President of Sierra Leone who
was illegally removed by the shameless action of a
compromised and up for sale Supreme Court.
Follow how AFRC Mark II (the
administration of the rat) treats the Constitution and
you would be taken back to the Johnny Paul days when
that important document was suspended so that they could
get their way on the path of lawlessness and the
suppression of the rights of Sierra Leoneans. Being a
civilian administration is only in name as all the
checks and balances of the Executive that are vested in
the Judiciary and Parliament have become compromised
with Parliamentarians no longer representing the views
of constituents whom they do not bother to consult on