University Professor in Somalia sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for Facebook Post arguing that praying to God for Water is not a viable Strategy for Managing Drought

Mahmoud Jama Ahmed-Hamdi , a prisoner of conscience in Somaliland region of Somalia
Mahmoud Jama Ahmed-Hamdi, a university lecturer in the Northern Somali city of Hargesia, capital of the breakaway-region of Somaliland in Somalia, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for a Facebook post that authorities in Somaliland called “blasphemy.”
In that Facebook post, Ahmed-Hamdi criticized the apathetic approach taken to drought in Somalia, where people pray to God instead of taking proactive steps to resolve recurring droughts. Ahmed-Hamdi said Somalis should learn from “advanced societies” such as in the United States and Europe and address drought by “making rain.”
Somaliland and large parts of Somalia have suffered from repeated droughts in recent years, a phenomenon many have connected to climate change. The droughts have killed millions of livestock in an economy dependent on livestock-exports, and have caused millions of people to be displaced and hungry. The United Nations has called for $1.6 billion dollars in international aid to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths. As of 2017, there were 1.2 million malnourished children in Somalia.
Ahmed-Hamdi’s imprisonment has raised concerns about the right to freedom of speech and conscience in Somaliland, which prides itself on being a “democracy” and which has sought international recongiztion as an independent country from Somalia for nearly the past thirty years.

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