CJFE Calls for the Release of Journalists in Somalia

Monday, March 23, 2009

His Excellency Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke
Prime Minister of Somalia
Mogadishu, Somalia

March 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

Today, as we mark the seventh month anniversary of the kidnappings of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian journalist, Nigel Brennan, CJFE urges your government to take swift action to secure their freedom. We know that you deeply care for their safety and also wish to see them free.

Lindhout, a 27-year-old free-lance journalist, was visiting a refugee camp when she and her companions, Nigel Brennan and Somali journalist Abdifatah Elmi were abducted on August 23, 2008, near the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Elmi was released 146 days later, on January 16, 2009.

Since their kidnappings little has been heard other than a ransom demand of US $2.5 million in the weeks after their abduction. The demand was reportedly lowered earlier this year to US $100,000.

CJFE asks you to make this case a priority and to do everything in your power to work for the immediate and unconditional release of Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan. We also hope, as you do, that one day journalists in Somalia are able to work in safety.

We thank you for your attention and look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Amber, President

CC: The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Her Excellency, Judith Mbula Bahemuka, Kenya High Commissioner to Canada