UA: 28/11 Index: AFR 23/001/2011 Djibouti Date: 11 February 2011
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST ARRESTED IN DJIBOUTI
On 9 February, Jean-Paul Noёl Abdi, the president of the Djiboutian League of Human Rights (la
Ligue djiboutienne des droits humains, LDDH), was arrested after he investigated and reported
on arrests following recent student protests in the Republic of Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.
The National Police arrested Jean-Paul Noёl Abdi on 9 February and he was taken to the police headquarters
located in Djibouti City (Djibouti-Ville).
Later on the same afternoon, he was brought before the Prosecutor General (Procureur de le République) who
charged him with participation in an insurrectional movement (“participation a un mouvement insurrectionel”)
under articles 145 and 146.4 of the Penal Code. The charges carry a possible 15 year jail sentence and a fine of
seven million Djiboutian francs (around 40,000 USD). He was then transferred to Gabode Prison, Djibouti City.
On 5 and 6 February, Jean-Paul Noёl Abdi recorded and shared information about alleged arbitrary arrests following
student protests in Djibouti City. He had also tried to visit the students in detention. Another Djiboutian human
rights defender has also reported the arrest of at least seven opposition party members, from the Movement for
Democratic Renewal and Development and the Union for Democracy and Justice.
Student protests took place on 5 February and were in response to a low pass rate this year and the quality of the
education system. Local sources believe that the protests have become increasingly political. The international
media has reported civil unrest and low-level violence, including rock throwing and looting.
Presidential elections are scheduled for April 2011. Opposition parties refused to take part in the 2005 and 2008
elections because their demands for changes in the electoral process were not met.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in French, English or your own language:
expressing grave concern that human rights defender, Jean-Paul Noёl Abdi, has been detained on charges of
participating in an insurrectional movement, apparently for investigating and reporting on arbitrary arrests following
the recent student protests;
urging the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, detained
solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression;
calling on the authorities to ensure that all Djiboutian human rights defenders can work freely and independently
and with the full protection of the state.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 25 MARCH 2011 TO:
President of the Republic
Ismail Omar Guelleh
République de Djibouti
Fax: 00 253 35 50 49
Salutation: Your Excellency / Dear
Minister of Justice
Mohamed Barkat Abdillahi
Ministre de la Justice,
République de Djibouti
Fax: 00 253 35 54 20
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
Maki Omar Abdoulkader
Fax: 00 253 35 69 90
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above