8 February 2013

Somalia: Somali Government Will Not Interfere in 'Rape Case'

The Somali government will not interfere with the recent court verdict that sentenced an alleged rape victim and a journalist who interviewed her to one year in prison, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said Thursday (February 7th).

"Somalia has an independent judiciary and the court has made its decision," Shirdon said in a statement. He said the government is looking into the case, but will not change the decision.

Shirdon said the government is committed to human rights, noting the establishment of an independent human rights task force on Tuesday, the same day the court issued the verdict. He said the 13-member task force will specifically investigate allegations of rape and sexual abuse, and whether due process had been followed in Ibrahim's case.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Wednesday urged the government to re-open the cases.

The National Union of Somali Journalists has expressed reservations about the new task force, Somalia's RBC Radio reported on Friday. "We welcome the formation of the task force, but we are genuinely concerned about the sincerity of the task force to have the results as required," said NUSOJ Secretary-General Mohamed Ibrahim, adding that the date of the formation of the task force is specious.

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