- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - A former journalist accused of belonging to an Islamic extremist group was sentenced to death Thursday for his alleged role in the killings of five Somali journalists.

A military court in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, convicted Hassan Hanafi Haji, who was extradited from Kenya last year on the request of the Somali government.

A judge, while handing down the death penalty for Haji, said the suspected al-Shabab member had been involved in the killings of the journalists in Somalia.

Haji showed no signs of emotion before soldiers took him away.

His trial attracted significant attention from local journalists, some of whom attended the trial Thursday. Many hope the sentence will send a message to extremists who have made Somalia one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work.

Media workers here had complained that few of those behind the killings of dozens of journalists over the years had been brought to justice. At least four journalists have been killed in Somalia since January.

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