They say that the “hallmarks of free people in any nation are the freedom of the press and independent judiciary”.
Here in Puntland as in the rest of Somalia, the constitutional powers of the legislative, executive and judiciary often got mixed up and melt into each other, losing the relevance of constitutional mandates of checks and balance.
Enough is said about the legislature and executive branches of the government, but little thought and deliberation are paid to the issue of the independence of the judiciary.
In this regard, it is important to remind all citizens that the power to arrest or free a citizen from prison belongs exclusively to a judge in a court of justice- the executive and legislative branches of the government have no role to play here. Even, if the State President pardons someone after court conviction, the power to release that prisoner belongs to a judge, not the President. The government can withdraw its case against an accused, but still that withdrawal must be made publicly in a court of law before a judge. The government cannot make arrest or release anyone without a court order. The State President cannot arrest or release anybody without a court order. In the absence of flagrant crime, no one can lose his/her freedom without a court order. No attorney-general, no police officer, no minister can order the arrest of any person without obtaining a warrant of arrest from the court first. These are all consistent with the laws of Puntland and its Constitution. Make no mistake, even the President of Puntland couldn’t order the arrest of someone without securing a court order first to avoid violating the law of the land himself or herself. Any politician cought influencing a court decision or procedures is guilty of a crime.
Unlawful arrests can be litigated in court of justice anywhere in the world through a lawyer.
All officers receiving executive orders to take away the freedom of someone, not cought in flagrant violation of the law, must demand that order to be issued in writing to produce the document in a court of justice in order to defend themselves.
About the blogger:
This blog is associated with the former Chief of Staff in Puntland State Presidency, 1998-2005. He also worked with the UN and World Bank Joint Secretariat for Somalia’s Re-construction and Development Program (RDP), 2005-2006, as a Zonal Technical Coordinator for Puntland and later as National Aid Technical Coordinator with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and European Union. He is now an independent political analyst and commentator on current issues and occasionally gives historical perspective on modern Somalia’s politics. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
View all posts by Ismail Warsame