7 February 2013

Somalia: Govt Should Re-Open 'Rape Case', UN Human Rights Chief Says

The Somali government should re-open the cases of a woman who claimed she was raped by government security forces and a journalist who interviewed her, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday (February 6th).

On Tuesday, a Somali court in Mogadishu sentenced journalist Abdiasis Abdinuur Ibrahim and the woman Lul Ali Osman, an internally displaced person living in the Burdhubo camp, to one year in prison for offending state institutions.

Pillay said the court's decision was a setback in the fight against sexual violence in Somalia.

"Sexual abuse in the camps for displaced people in Somalia is a real issue, and any effort to expose, denounce and deter those crimes should be supported," she said. "It is deeply disturbing that a woman alleging rape can be penalised for reporting such a crime and a journalist jailed for investigating it."

"I raised this case 10 days ago directly with the government of Somalia," Pillay said, according to a UN press release. "I am now calling on the government to urgently re-open this case and launch a full inquiry to clearly establish what happened and, if any allegations of abuses against the victim and the journalist are confirmed, to hold those responsible accountable."

Pillay said the government's decision to detain the journalist for one year could affect freedom of expression in Somalia. "Sexual violence is a perfectly valid subject for any journalist to investigate," she said. "No journalist should be arrested and sentenced by a court to one year in jail for doing his work."

Copyright © 2013 Sabahi. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.