A poet jailed over a piece advocating a united Somalia has been released by authorities in Somaliland after three weeks behind bars.
Naema Abwan Qorane was in mid-April 2018 jailed three-years by a court in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, local media portals and journalists at the time reported. She had been arrested since January this year.
She was reportedly found guilty of “bringing the Nation or the State into Contempt”. Her lawyers insisted that she did not get a fair trial and hinted of an appeal.
Media and human rights groups had heaped pressure on the authorities to release her slamming the flagrant clampdown on freedom of expression.
At the heart of her charge was the call for a ‘greater Somalia’ – a call for national unity which Somaliland, a region considersing itself a semi-autonomous region of Somalia has repeatedly kicked against.
Somaliland declared unilateral independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991. It has been under pressure to hold talks with Somalia which have so far been futile.
Described as the most peaceful state in the Horn of Africa region, Somaliland can boast of an army, its own currency and legal system.
The territory has been experiencing stability and economic prosperity. It has been influential in the fight against piracy and terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
26 years of diplomatic isolation has made it difficult for Somaliland to have access to loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
It is regarded as the autonomous region of Somalia and not a sovereign state. It held presidential elections in 2017 using the facial recognition technology – a historic first in the world.