Djibouti: Release of Four Opposition Members arrested in March 2017 Pending Final Court Decision


Farah Abadid Hildid, Naguib Ali Gouradi, Mohamoud Mohamed Daher and Ibrahim Abdi Indayareh, the four members of the Movement for Democratic Renewal and Development (MDRD), who were sentenced to two months of imprisonment on 28 March 2017 and detained at the Gabode prison, were finally released on 10 May 2017 pending final decision of the Djibouti Court of Appeal. However, the four men, as well as 15 other members of the movement, all victims of a wave of arbitrary arrests conducted in March 2017, are still subjected to a persistent judicial harassment of the Djiboutian authorities.

Between 13 and 22 March 2017, 19 members of the MDRD were arbitrarily arrested by the Djibouti Gendarmerie Brigade. Following several days of police custody, nine of them were brought before the Public Prosecutor on 23 March 2017. Among these nine members, Naguib Ali Gouradi, Farah Abadid Hildid, Mohamoud Mohamed Daher and Ibrahim Abdi Indayareh were held in custody and transferred to Gabode central prison before being sentenced to two months of imprisonment for "illegal political activities" on 28 March 2017.

On 10 May 2017, Farah Abadid Hildid, Naguib Ali Gouradi, Mohamoud Mohamed Daher and Ibrahim Indayareh were brought before the Court of Appeal and released pending further consideration of their case on 17 May 2017. Since then, and after being postponed several times, no decision has yet been issued.

According to the information provided by Mr. Zakaria Abdillahi, representative of the Djiboutian League of Human Rights (LDDH), the Secretary General of the MDRD Djama Houssein Robleh, and the activist Hared Daher, who were not initially detained were also sentenced to two months of imprisonment without having been duly summoned to the hearing. The authorities have since issued a groundless arrest warrant against them. In the same case, the President of the movement, Dahed Ahmed Farah, who is currently living in Europe, is also victim of an unfounded international arrest warrant.

"The judicial persecution of the Djiboutian authorities against the opposition members constitutes a clear violation of their fundamental rights which added to the political charges brought against them clearly lead to an unfair trial. No one should be prosecuted for their peaceful political activism" said Radidja Nemar, Legal Regional Officer for the Nile and North Africa at Alkarama.

On 28 March 2017, Alkarama and the LDDH submitted the case of the 19 members of the MDRD to the Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association (SR FPAA), requesting the UN expert to urge the Djiboutian authorities to immediately release all members of the MDRD and put an end to the continued judicial harassment against them.

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