20 February 2013

Somalia: Appeal Hearing for Jailed Journalist and Alleged Rape Victim

Photo: This Day
Symbol of justice.

Mogadishu — The Mogadishu court of appeals is currently hearing the case of the incarcerated journalist and alleged rape victim that were sentenced to one year in prison earlier this month, Garowe Online reports.

Abdiaziz Abdinor Ibrahim Koronto was arrested and charged with slandering the Somali Federal Government after he interviewed a woman who alleged that she was raped by Somali troops. He and the woman were tried in a controversial hearing in Mogadishu that resulted in 1 year in prison for the two.

Mohamed Mohamud Farah the prisoners' attorney spoke to Somali media on Wednesday stating that the appeals court will listen to testimony midday Wednesday.

"We have a lot of hope that both the defendants will gain their freedom following our appeal hearing," said Farah.

The verdict of the trial prompted international controversy as to why Koronto and the alleged rape victim were arrested and jailed for 1 year.

UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, condemned the arrest of the alleged rape victim and journalist. Human rights agencies also condemned the verdict by the Mogadishu court and requested that the government intervene.

Both President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his Prime Minister responded that it was unconstitutional for the government to intervene in the courts.

Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, shortly before the verdict, named an independent body to investigate abuse cases against civilians by authorities.

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 not enough action by the Federal Government.


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