A Somali military court has sentenced to death a former journalist who helped al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab militant group kill fellow reporters.
On Thursday, a military court in the Somali capital Mogadishu handed down the death penalty to Hassan Hanafi on charges of his involvement in the assassination of journalists.
“Hassan Hanafi is sentenced to death, after the court has found him guilty of all charges against him,” Hassan Ali, a senior judge at the military court, said, adding. “All the evidence brought in support of the case and the witnesses show that he had key roles in the masterminding and execution of the murder of several journalists.”
The court also pointed out that Hanafi had confessed to the killings and to being a member of the Takfiri al-Shabab militant group.
The judge noted that Hanafi will be put to death as soon as possible. Death sentences in the African country are usually carried out by firing squad.
Hanafi showed no sign of emotion after the sentence was announced, saying, “But I am indifferent if you kill me. You will see if killings will stop even after my death.”
The journalist reportedly joined al-Shabab in 2008 when he was working as a journalist for Radio Andalus, a local Somali broadcaster which is considered as al-Shabab’s mouthpiece in Somalia.
He had arranged news conferences in the years when the militants controlled the capital Mogadishu.
Hanafi was arrested in neighboring Kenya in 2014 after reportedly travelling there for medical treatment. He was extradited to Somalia late that year to stand trial.
Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to operate. Dozens of journalists have been killed across Somalia over the past years.
Somalia has been the scene of deadly fighting between government forces and al-Shabab elements since 2006.
The militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu and other major cities by government troops and the African Union Mission to Somalia, which is largely made up of troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, and Kenya.
The al-Shabab members have, however, continued to carry out attacks in Mogadishu despite being ousted from their bases in the seaside city in 2011.