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Djibouti: Chairman and Spokesman of Mouvement des jeunes de l'opposition (MJO) Arbitrarily Detained

Détention arbitraire du président et porte-parole du Mouvement des jeunes de l’opposition

Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), regarding the case of Mouhayadine Yacin Mohamed and Said Charmake Darar, two young Djiboutian activists arbitrarily arrested by the police on 8 December 2014. They are respectively the President and spokesman of the Mouvement des jeunes de l'opposition (MJO), a peaceful group created in January 2011 calling for democratic reforms in Djibouti.

On 8 December 2014, the two activists were arrested at their respective homes in the neighbourhood of Balbala, a southern suburb of Djibouti City, by police officers who did not show any warrant and who violently beat them with rifle butts. After their transfer to the police station in the 4th district of Balbala, they were then into custody, in particularly hard conditions and without access to their lawyer, Zakaria Ali Abdillahi.

Later, and still in the absence of their lawyer, they were brought before the Deputy Prosecutor of the Djibouti Court and charged with "illegal demonstration", "disturbing public order" and "violence and degradation", charges they deny since the alleged event never occurred. Despite numerous bruises on their body and their severe pain, they were denied access to a doctor.

At the end of the 48 hours police custody, they were transferred and placed in custody at the Gabode priso , known as a lawless zone where torture is commonly practiced, and famous for its appalling detention conditions. On 14 December 2014, after being held in particularly humiliating conditions, they appeared in court, which issued Yacin's provisional release, but denied that of Darar, in spite of the inconsistency of the charges made against him and the total absence of material elements in his file. The court remanded the case to his 21 December 2014 hearing.

Both activists are paying the price for their peaceful political commitment towards the authorities, which keep an attitude of violent intimidation towards any person or association formulating democratic demands against them. In Djibouti, the continuous harassment of political opponents has been repeatedly questioned by United Nations bodies, and it is high time for the authorities to take concrete measures to ensure the free exercise by Djiboutians of their civil and political rights, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified by Djibouti in November 2011.

In that way, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal the WGAD to call upon the authorities to drop all criminal charges against Yacin and Darar, due to their because peaceful political engagement. Darar, who remains in detention to this day, should also be able to receive urgent and necessary medical examination and legal assistance. The Djiboutian authorities must end the crackdown against political opposition groups and respect their international commitments.

For more information or an interview, please contact the media team at media@alkarama.org (Dir: +41 22 734 1007 Ext: 810)