All Africa 27 January 2016
On 19 January 2016, the Court of flagrante offences of Djibouti City condemned Kadar Abdi Ibrahim, publication co-director of the Aurore newspaper, to a two-month suspended prison sentence, while suspending the publication of this monthly newspaper also for two months.
As the sentence seems to relate to the authorities’ determination to cut off all means of free expression in the country in the run-up to the April 2016 presidential election, Alkarama and the Djibouti League for Human Rights (LDDH) submitted Kadar’s case to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression (SR FRDX) to call on the authorities to cancel the decision against him and to authorise again the publication of the Aurore newspaper.
The prosecution of this opposition newspaper and its 40-year-old publication co-director was justified by the publication of a photograph in its fifth edition on 11 January 2016 of a seven-year-old girl who died during the violent dispersal of a religious ceremony by the police and the Djibouti army on 21 December 2015, which led to the deaths of dozens of people and injured numerous others.
While the authorities have not yet launched an independent and impartial investigation into these events, they have tried to block any dissemination of information about them by arresting political opponents, but also by pursuing and intimidating journalists. Such was the case of Mohamed Ibrahim Waïss, tortured in detention since his arrest on 11 January.