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A vision for Djibouti – statement following court hearing in London, 7 June 2013

Friday 7 June 2013 | News | Comments: 0

The UK Commercial Court has today struck out criminal claims brought by the Government of Djibouti against Abdourahman Boreh, an international businessman and leading opposition campaigner.

The defence argued the case was “politically motivated” by President Guelleh of Djibouti, whose government is known to have engaged in intimidation of political opponents.

Following the case, presidential challenger Abdourahman Boreh delivered a damning critique of the current regime.

Abdourahman Boreh, international businessman and leading Djiboutian opposition figure, said:

“We thank his honour the judge for his time and patience over the last three days.

But let us not forget that these proceedings are fundamentally a political distraction.

In spite of the greatest efforts of this draconian regime to undermine a blossoming liberal democratic movement in my country, the people of Djibouti must not lose focus on the importance of the task at hand: ensuring peaceful political transition of power to a new, progressive government, committed to justice, democracy and dignity for its citizens.

While President Guelleh spends millions of dollars pursuing me on illegitimate grounds through the UK courts, thousands of miles away in my cherished homeland, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children starve every day. You need only look at the latest figures from the IMF to see that over half of Djiboutians live in extreme poverty. UNICEF will tell you that 15 per cent of the population suffer from a – and I quote – “crushing lack of food, health care, nutrition support, drinking water and sanitation facilities”.

Let the President answer why his priorities are with the bolstering of his own regime and his own dreamt up political battles, and not with the people of Djibouti.

And let him answer why political prisoners from the Djibouti opposition, the Union pour le Salut National (USN) – my friends and fellow activists – remain locked up in subhuman conditions.

Let him answer why, when asked by the BBC last month about imprisoned USN activists in Djibouti, he lied on record and stated that there were – and again, I quote: “No political prisoners in our country. Not a single man condemned for expression…”

Let him explain to the families of locked up legitimate political activists – including Cheikh Bachir, Cheikh Guirreh, Dr Barkad and Faycal Mohamed – these proud Djiboutians calling for change, for dignity, for justice, how he can justify such flagrant lies that makes a mockery of their struggles and sufferings. Let him answer the US State Department’s calls for these prisoners to be released with immediate action.

And let him explain how a nation so strategically placed, so rich in potential, with a population so ambitious, can be allowed to fall into a state of such dire economic and social deprivation.

I challenge you, President Guelleh, to give straight, honest and direct answers to the people of Djibouti.
Because we, the USN – the legitimate government of Djibouti – will never be restrained or deterred by your bullying tactics, your harassment, your intimidation.

Because we, the USN, the people, know your time is up.

The people have spoken. Now is the time of the alternative. For democracy, for dignity, for justice.
For Djibouti.”

ENDS

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