6 February 2013

Somalia: PM Selects Independent Body to Investigate Abuse Cases

Mogadishu, Somalia — Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon selected an independent committee to investigate abuse cases against civilians in Somalia, the same day the Mogadishu civil court sentenced a journalist and alleged rape victim to 1 year in jail, Garowe Online reports.

According to a Federal Government press release, the decree came out of the Prime Minister's office on Tuesday which nominated a 13 member group consisting of women activists, lawyers, government officials and other civil society members.

The committee is mandated with conducting investigations to abuse cases of civilians by authorities.

The committee was formed amidst an alleged rape case by security forces. After the allegation was made security forces arrested the journalist named Abdiaziz Abdinor Ibrahim and a woman for slander against the state.

The Mogadishu judiciary court tried both Mr. Ibrahim and the alleged rape victim and sentenced them to one year in jail each on Tuesday.

There were 3 other defendants tried as well including the husband of the alleged rape victim but all were found not guilty.

The alleged rape case has caused much international concern and human rights agencies have expressed worry of a lack of a free and fair trial.

Both President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Shirdon have stated that they cannot interfere in the judicial courts.

This new independent committee could shed light on the alleged rape case by security forces.

There have been numerous complaints of abuse cases by security forces in southern Somalia, although the government has promised to crackdown on forces some human rights agencies believe there is still a lack of action by the Federal Government.

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