Bossaso — Twelve people charged with the murder of Sheikh Ahmed Haji Abdirahman including Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane, were sentenced to death after a court found them guilty in Bossaso on Wednesday, Garowe Online reports.
Puntland's North Eastern regional Military Courts Judge, Abdifatah Haji Adan, sentenced the 12 people including Al Shabaab Chief Ahmed Abdi Godane to death by firing squad.
Only 6 of the 12 were captured while the other 6 people are being actively pursued. The 6 people including 1 female had their hearing at a military court where they were found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. According to Puntland law, all terrorism cases are held at military courts.
Some of the convicted Al Shabaab members.
The 6 people were caught 14 months ago, however a 6 month investigation was carried out. Following that, the Puntland government formed an independent investigative committee to assess the information retrieved from the investigation by Puntland authorities. Some of the 6 detained people admitted their participation in Sheikh Abdirahman's assassination on video, which immediately went viral.
Sheikh Abdirahman a prominent Somali Islamic scholar, professor and doctor was shot and killed as he was leaving a mosque near his home in Bossaso on December 5, 2011. The killing sparked an international outcry from scholars, intellectuals and Somalis as a whole, against Al Shabaab.
The 12 people all played different roles in the killing of Sheikh Abdirahman from aiding and abetting to financing and organizing, some of the 6 captured convicts admitted working in the terrorist assassination unit.
The convicted persons will have a month to appeal the verdict before an execution date is scheduled.
The deceased Sheikh Abdirahman's friend and colleague Sheikh Abdiqadir Nur Farah - who spoke out against Al Shabaab after Sheikh Abdirahman was killed - was recently killed in Garowe while praying at a mosque.
The brutal assassination resulted in an uproar from Somalis and non Somalis abroad and in Somalia condemning Al Shabaab. On Sunday, citizens in Garowe held a massive demonstration against Al Shabaab that was attended by Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire, scholars and community leaders.
President Farole went on the record at the rally accusing Godane of arranging the killings of Sheikh Abdiqadir and others in Puntland.
The Puntland authorities stated that they captured 50 perpetrators including foreign fighters that are linked to the assassination of Sheikh Abdiqadir, adding that they will be brought to justice by trial.