MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali appeals court on Sunday dropped charges against a woman who alleged she was raped by government security forces and had been convicted of defaming the government.

Mogadishu appeals court Judge Mohamed Hassan Ali said there wasn’t enough evidence to substantiate the prosecutor’s charge. A court in February had sentenced the woman to one year in prison after medical evidence entered into the record showed that the woman was not raped. Some experts questioned whether Somalia has the medical expertise to make the kind of judgment.

A journalist who interviewed the rape victim and was tried alongside her had his sentence reduced from one year to six months. The judge said the interview was not conducted according to journalism ethics or Somali law.

The February verdict against the two provoked international outcry by human rights groups, and Human Rights Watch on Sunday said it wasn’t satisfied with the appeals court’s decision.

“The court of appeals missed a chance to right a terrible wrong, both for the journalist and for press freedom in Somalia,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government has argued that justice should run its course in this case, but each step has been justice denied.”

Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon welcomed the decision concerning the rape victim and said “we are a step closer to justice being done.”

“However, I was hoping for a different outcome on the journalist. I note his sentence has been reduced from 12 months to six, but I do not believe journalists should be sent to prison for doing their job. We must have freedom of expression, which is guaranteed in our constitution,” Shirdon said.

The Somali capital has moved past the violence that engulfed Mogadishu for much of the last two decades. In a sign of its progress, the United States earlier this year officially recognized the country’s government for the first time in two decades.

Despite the progress, Somali government institutions remain weak and corrupt, and the government relies heavily on the security provided by 17,000 African Union troops in the country. Allegations of rape against government security forces are common, especially around the sprawling camps for internally displaced people in Mogadishu.

Rights groups decried the case against the woman and the reporter — freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur — as politically motivated because the woman had accused security forces of the assault. Abdinur was convicted despite never having published any story based on the interview with the woman.

On Jan. 6, Universal TV, a Somali television station, reported that armed men in police uniform had raped a young woman. The same day Al Jazeera published an article which described rape by security forces in camps for internally displaced people in Mogadishu.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had expressed deep disappointment over the sentences and urged the Somali government “to ensure that all allegations of sexual violence are investigated fully and perpetrators are brought to justice,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Experts in confronting violence against women said the original verdict would discourage Somali women from reporting rape even more than they are already in the conservative Muslim society.

Source: AP



  1. Justice is served!

    Women have lost all hope of every receiving justice by reporting rape as a result all the Security forces have been given the green light to take full advantage of the 1.5million IDPs squatting around Muuqdishu.

  2. subhanAllah wheres freedom of journalism and protecting the weak is this what internationall agencys are supporting it shows we live in unfaire world but one day the every one will face the judge of all judges subhanaAllahu wa tala

  3. She should never have been convicted, but this is a welcome decision and I'm proud of the appeal court cleaning what the other morons couldn't do. Now my only hope is they will do it the same for the journalist too.

  4. Whom to believe? I am more inclined to believe the woman who was violated. What was she to gain from going public with a false allegation? Nothing. I believe she was raped and the thugs in uniform who did this should be punished to the full extent of the law, if there is even a law in the books. This is an anathema in my parts of the world. Civil and institutional societies should be organized in Somalia very quickly.

  5. Gurguurte felt the heat of IC and donors, that he cannot live without them. That is the reason he ordered this retrial and release of the lady, otherwise there is no justice in Somalia, and will never be in the near future, since the entry country is criminal syndicate camouflaged in the name of state.

    Where all that money he collects go? aren't those poor IDP suppose to benefit? Just look back how much was given to him since he came to the power, and sidelined the Prime Minister who is supposed to deal with the IC?

  6. Issue was and is not about one woman and one journalist. It is about silencing women raped by the rogue Somalia soldiers.

    This woman lost her liberty, dignity and her self-esteem as consequences of this Somalia's banana Republic government and its Kangaroo courts.Having seen what happened to this poor woman, no other woman will dare to report a rape in Somalia. This is shameful and pains me to the bone as a father, brother, son and uncle to girls and as a human being. Nothing can be more terrible than a women being raped and tortured in this cruel way. What has she done to deserve this?

          • You are a real sick person and disgusting too. It is obvious that you are not Sahra, but a male gay.

            That perverted acts of yours is not practiced in Somaliland, where Sahra and I call home, find someone from Somalia.

          • This is getting out of hand. Somalilandpress I blame you for this. now is obvious no adult supervision this website and no use of commenting. And you let him used that many names, tell me how much power he has.

          • Sahra,

            I agree with you, this place is a mess. I suggest all those, who make a habit of personal attack and make irrelevant comments to the posted articles should be prohibited to come here and insult people. Shame on you Somalilandpress, because you let this useless trolls into your websites.

  7. No wonder the poor woman is humiliated and an example is set for future raped Somalia women. This is what happens when you select a Qat (drug) dealer like Mr. Shirdoon as a Prime Minister. drug dealing is all about harassment, extortion and blackmailing and that is what this shameful Somalia government is doing.

    They are good at humiliating women and asking USA government to give immunity to a USA court of law conflicted mass-murderer called Ali Samater.

    Welcome on board the drug dealers flight and good luck!

  8. Anyone who respect the good behaviour must stop contributing this website that become the platform of somaliland haters snd disgusting comment like the this stupid guy above made it. I have alreadyte migrated this place where kayse and alike make home.