“The trend of arrest and detention of journalists and other media workers seems to indicate an intention to intimidate or harass journalists and media owners which inevitably leads to self-censorship or to media workers eventually leaving the profession,” says the report produced jointly by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).Al-Shabaab has prohibited all media to operate in areas under its control but state actors are main perpetrators of violations against media workers and political activists, the report says“Somalia has made great progress in recent years, after decades of conflict and violence,” said Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and head of UNSOM, Michael Keating, in an OHCHR news release. “But Somalis continue to suffer multiple human rights deficits. They need and deserve accountable institutions.”“Strong, independent and critical journalism is a vital element of any democratic State,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. “Attacks against individual journalists and media organizations have a deeply corrosive impact on democracy, with profoundly negative repercussions on freedom of expression and human rights in general.”The UN human rights chief urged the Somali authorities, both at the Federal and State levels, to take prompt action and ensure that all violations of the right to freedom of expression, including the various serious attacks perpetrated against media workers, are fully investigated, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators.The report says that 2016 represents a “critical juncture in Somalia’s political transition,” and highlights the encouraging progress towards more inclusive elections and accountable government since 2012, including the rebuilding of State institutions and the adoption of important new laws, including one on political parties and one on the creation of an independent National Human Rights Commission.The report, however, states that freedom of expression, which plays a central role in the building of democratic States, especially in times of political transformation, remains significantly limited, documenting 120 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention of media workers between January 2014 and July 2016.Despite the “vibrant media culture” in Somalia – which hosts more than 90 media outlets and scores of websites and blogs – numerous violations aimed at journalists and political leaders are documented, including killings, attacks, arbitrary arrests and detention, intimidation, harassment, closure of media outlets, confiscation of equipment and blocking of websites.30 journalists killed between August 2012 and June 2016The dangers facing media workers and public figures are illustrated by the killing, between August 2012 and June 2016, of a total of 30 journalists and 18 parliamentarians in Somalia.Al-Shabaab has prohibited all media to operate in areas under its control and has been targeting media workers across the country, the report says. But federal and state-level security forces, including the National Army, the Police and the National Intelligence and Security Agency, are main perpetrators of violations against media workers and political activists. Radio Shabelle has been particularly targeted, with five serious incidents between 2013 and 2015. The report states that the authorities have made very limited efforts to investigate and prosecute such violations.The report stresses, among other things, the need to strengthen the justice system to better protect freedom of expression. Since January 2015, only ten of the 48 journalists and media workers who have been arrested have been brought before a court, it states.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “It feels like a horrible dream to me that I wish I could just wake up from.“I am suffering every day thinking of you and what happened to you and I wish I could turn the clock back on what happened and you could still be alive today.“Sophie I wish things could have been different and that you rest in peace with a God.” The patio where Sophie Lionnet’s body was foundCredit:Metropolitan Police Sophie Lionnet was imprisoned and tortured to deathCredit:Metropolitan Police/PA In a letter read out to the London court, Kouider wrote: “Dear Sophie, May peace be with you. First of all I wish everyone especially her parents and family well, all are suffering.“How deeply sorry I am for what happened and in fact we shared many good times.“Sophie I am shocked and sad that you are not part of this world any more. Ouissem Medouni and Sabrina Kouider in a court sketchCredit:Elizabeth Cook/PA When Miss Lionnet’s body was discovered in September last year, firefighters were convinced it was that of a small child because she was so emaciated after weeks of starvation. She had five fractured ribs and a cracked breast bone.Kouider had become obsessed with Mr Walton after a “very turbulent” two-year relationship which ended around 2013. She embarked on a campaign to ruin him before becoming paranoid that her “shy and timid” nanny was conspiring with him.In a psychotic condition known as a “folie à deux” – or “madness of two”, Kouider and Medouni, a former banker, began to reinforce each other’s fantasy world. They were found guilty of her murder following a trial. Sophie Lionnet’s mother, Catherine Devallonne (right), and father, Patrick Lionnet (left) arrive at the Old Bailey on TuesdayCredit:Nick Ansell /PA Sophie Lionnet was thin and gaunt in this picture two days before she was found deadCredit:Metropolitan Police Jailing them for life, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said the murderers had created a “complete fiction” about Miss Lionnet, whom they tortured in her final hours to make a “confession” about working with Mr Walton to undermine them. A woman who tortured and murdered her nanny before burning her body has written a bizarre letter to her saying she is shocked she is dead.Sabrina Kouider wrote the letter from prison in which she apologised for killing au pair, Sophie Lionnet, adding that she wished she could “turn back the clock”.However, a judge at the Old Bailey yesterday rejected her claims of remorse and jailed Kouider and her partner, Ouissem Medouni, for a minimum of 30 years each.The court heard that Kouider, a 35-year-old fashion designer, suffered from a psychotic disorder and convinced her infatuated 40-year-old lover that their nanny was plotting with Mark Walton, a founder of the band Boyzone, to destroy them.Miss Lionnet, 21, suffered waterboarding, beatings and her body was dumped on a bonfire before her killers prepared a barbecue at their home in Wimbledon, South-west London. The victim’s father, Patrick Lionnet, said what the couple did to his shy and reserved daughter was “beyond comprehension” and “unforgivable”.In a letter addressed “dear Sophie”, Kouider acknowledged the suffering of her victim and her family, saying how “deeply sorry I am about what happened to Sophie”. He said her behaviour towards the victim was “entirely driven by Ms Kouider’s mental illness in her desperation to obtain evidence of Mr Walton’s abuse”.By the time of Miss Lionnet’s death, it was Medouni who had taken over the “dominant role” in her interrogations, the lawyer argued.But Orlando Pownall QC, said Kouider was the “dominant” party who preyed on the “weak”, including his client Medouni.He said the former banker had been “indoctrinated” by a woman with the capacity for “sudden and extreme violence”.”Such was the all consuming nature of his commitment to Sabrina he did not have that many friends at all.” He told them: “I’m sure on all the evidence you were both involved in torturing Sophie in the bath in the lead-up to her death in making her think she would drown unless you gave her information you wanted which was not in her power to give because it did not exist.“The suffering and the torture you put her through before her death was prolonged and without pity.”He added that Kouider was motivated by an unjustified desire to make Miss Lionnet and Mr Walton “suffer”.The defendants showed no reaction in the dock as they were sentenced.Following their convictions, Miss Lionnet’s tearful mother, Catherine Devallonne, said: “These self-obsessed individuals who murdered Sophie did not believe Sophie had a value.”Those monsters repeatedly beat Sophie. They starved, tortured and broke her until she could no longer fight. They took away her dignity and finally her life painfully ebbed away until Sophie struggled to take her final terrified breath in the bath.” She wrote they shared some “good times” until “things went terribly wrong”.”I am shocked and sad you are not part of this world anymore. I’m suffering every day thinking of you and what happened to you that dreadful night. I only wish I could turn the clock back, it never happened and you would be alive with us today,” Kouider wrote.In mitigation, Icah Peart QC said the fashion designer’s delusional disorder coupled with an emotionally unstable personality disorder had caused her “irrational and completely overwhelming fear” that Miss Lionnet had been recruited by Mr Walton.