Somalia’s al-Shabab Journalist sentenced to death

A Somali military court has sentenced to death a former journalist who helped al-Shabab kill five fellow reporters.

Hassan Hanafi assisted the Islamist militant group by indentifying possible targets amongst journalists between 2007 and 2011.

He joined its armed wing after working for Radio Andalus, al-Shabab’s mouthpiece in Somalia.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalist, more than 25 journalists have been murdered in Somalia since 2007.

Report says while he was working for al-Shabab, Hanafi would call up journalists and threaten them with death if they refused to join the militant group,.

When giving his verdict, Judge Hassan Ali said the evidence showed that Hanafi had key roles in the masterminding and execution of the murder of several journalists.

The court in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, ruled that he should be executed by firing squad like several other al-Shabab operatives in recent years.

“I am indifferent if you kill me. You will see if killings will stop even after my death,” Hanafi said after the sentence was announced.

He was arrested by police in 2014 in neighbouring Kenya, where he had fled, and was then extradited to Somalia.

Al-Shabab frequently stages attacks in Mogadishu and other cities, and still controls many rural areas in southern Somalia.