Leadership (Abuja)

2 February 2013

Nigeria: UN Demands Fair Trial for Suspects in Somalia's Rape Fabrication Case

The UN has called for fair trial for five persons accused of fabricating rape case in Somalia.

It also expressed concern over the charges filed against the accused.

The UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) said on Friday it was concerned over the handling of the pre-trial phase, particularly which the accused have been in prolonged detention and lacked legal counsel until recently.

The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that earlier in January, Somali authorities arrested a journalist for interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped by members of the Somali army in September.

The woman was also arrested, as well as the person who introduced them.

Two other individuals have also been charged in connection with the case, which is scheduled to be heard by a court on Saturday.

The journalist, Abdiaziz Ibrahim, was charged for offending the honour of a State institution and for filing a false report.

The woman was also charged with offending the honour of a State institution.

"The mission 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," UNPOS said in a statement at the UN Headquarters in New York.

It reiterated that the presumption of innocence was an essential precondition to the validity of any legal procedure.

"The mission will monitor the process throughout and trusts that the defendants will receive a fair trial, in line with the Government of Somalia's stated commitment to ensure due process and the fair administration of justice," the statement said.

NAN

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