Dahir Alasow ordered to publish rectifications for 12 months on websites for unfounded accusations
Somalilandsun- Dahabshiil Transfer Services Ltd received a favourable decision in the preliminary proceedings before the court of Breda, declaring all evidence of alleged terrorist financing and violence towards the press as “fabricated” and lacking “sufficient factual support”.
The court order, which relates back to a series of defamatory claims made by Somali blogger, Dahir Alasow on his proprietary blogger sites – sunatimes.com, waagacusub.net and waagacusub.info amongst others – obliged Mr Alasow to publish within 14 days and keep published for 12 months, rectifications on all the websites and social media channels controlled by him.
The allegations dismissed by the Dutch court include a claim linked to Saado Ali Warsame which have recently been the subject of a pending US lawsuit. However, the decision of the court in Breda decision significantly reduces the merits of any subsequent lawsuit.
A Dahabshiil spokesperson said: “We are very pleased that a competent court has recognised the absurd nature of these baseless claims and we are able to clear our name. We hope that this will finally put an end to any such allegations
“We vehemently oppose terrorism in all its forms. We have never financed terrorism. On the contrary, we have invested heavily in state-of-the-art compliance systems to ensure that we meet and exceed all the requirements of the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, and its supervisory body, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, as well as all other applicable laws and international regulations.”
Dahabshiil has taken Mr Alasow to court for defamation on three separate occasions. Dahabshiil initially issued legal proceedings against Mr Alasow in November 2010. Prior to this most recent judgement, on 16 December 2014, the court of appeal ruled that Mr Alasow’s allegations were defamatory of Dahabshiil and should not have been published. As a result the court ordered Mr Alasow to remove various articles and publish a full retraction, in Somali as well as English, confirming the unsubstantiated and damaging nature of these claims. The court also ordered Mr Alasow to send a rectification email in similar terms to a large group of people that he contacted several years ago with similar allegations.
The latest court proceedings follow a public statement from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), the Independent Media Houses Association (SIMHA) and the Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) naming Mr Alasow and fellow blogger Omar Faruk Osman as one of a small group of ‘illegitimate content publishers’ within the Somali region linked with widespread harassment and extortion. In its statement, SOLJA denounced the actions of Mr Alasow as ‘intent to undermine the fundamental principles of ethical journalism’.
A statement from Dahabshiil’s legal representatives, Bird & Bird read: “This is a resounding victory for Dahabshiil. The Court’s decision that Mr Alasow must publish his apology to Dahabshiil on his websites for 12 months is unusual, and reflects his complete failure to substantiate the very serious allegations he published.”