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International outrage at comedian's murder

2 August 2012

Equity has expressed shock and outrage at the murder of Somali comedian Abdi Jeylani Marshale (left) who has been shot dead in Mogadishu. It is not known who carried out the murder but last year Marshale was threatened by the extremist group al-Shabaab, prompting him to go into hiding in neighbouring Somaliland for several days. 

Marshale is one of Somalia's most popular comedians and is known for his parodies of Islamist militants.

Equity General Secretary Christine Payne has comented: "Equity condemns this latest attack on freedom of expression. Under a year ago we were celebrating the release of Burmese comedian Zarganar, who was so unjustly imprisoned for mocking the military regime in his country but now, sadly, we are mourning the loss of Abdi Jeylani Marshale, shot dead for making people laugh in one of the darkest corners of the world.”

At this year's Trades Union Congress in Brighton Equity will highlight the plight of artists facing censorship, enforced exile, imprisonment, torture and even death. Despite hardship and persecution, many artists living in repressive regimes continue to create great art and fight for the right to work and earn a living.

Amnesty International in the UK has called on the Somali authorities and the international community to ensure that those responsible for the killings of media workers are brought to justice.

Read The Gurdian's report of Abdi Jeylani Marshale's murder here. Other press comments include All Africa, Global Post, Boston.com and AFP

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