1 February 2013

Somalia: Somali Police Charge Five in 'Rape Case'

Somali police have charged five people in connection to an alleged fabricated story about a rape involving Somali police officers, the United Nations Political Office (UNPOS) for Somalia said in a press release Friday (February 1st).

Journalist Abdulasis Abdinuur Ibrahim was charged with offending the honour of a state institution and for filing a false report after interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped. The alleged rape victim was also charged with offending the honour of a state institution and for filing a false report.

Three other individuals have also been charged. All five are expected to appear in court on Saturday.

The UN said it "has raised concerns that the handling of the pre-trial phase, in particular the prolonged detention and the (now remedied) lack of access to legal counsel, could negatively impact" the trial.

"[UNPOS] has received firm assurances from the government of Somalia that the trial of the five defendants will be conducted with full respect to both national jurisprudence and international human rights law," the statement said.

International human rights organisations have raised concerns about the way the case has been handled, including the lengthy detention of the suspects without charge and repeated postponement of their appearance in court.

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