Ex al-Shabab Official Executed for Journalists’ Killings

Hassan Hanafi Haji, a former journalist accused of belonging to al-Shabab and involvement in the killings of five Somali journalists, is tied to a wooden post as he is prepared to be executed by firing squad, at a police academy in the capital Mogadishu on April 11, 2016.

Hassan Hanafi Haji, a former journalist accused of belonging to al-Shabab and involvement in the killings of five Somali journalists, is tied to a wooden post as he is prepared to be executed by firing squad, at a police academy in the capital Mogadishu on April 11, 2016.

Somalia’s government on Monday executed a former journalist accused of helping al-Shabab militants kill at least five other journalists in Mogadishu between 2007 and 2011.

Officials and witnesses say a firing squad executed Hassan Hanafi Haji at a police academy in Mogadishu. Haji was extradited from Kenya last year at the request of the Somali government.

Abdulahi Hussein Mohamed, deputy judge of the military court, talked to the media after the execution and said the former journalist had a fair trial and finally faced justice.

“He has been going under court process since earlier 2015. So, now with all the evidences and his confession the justice had been done,” Mohamed said.

Haji acted as al-Shabab’s liaison officer to the media and pressured journalists to report according to the group’s media rules, which included avoiding stories related to military setbacks. He was known to threaten journalists and radio stations if they did not comply.

He later worked for Radio Andalus, al-Shabab’s official media outlet.

“He tasted the pain he inflicted [on] our colleagues. Justice should not only be done but it must be seen to be done,” said a prominent local journalist, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.