3 March 2013

Somalia: Court Grants Freedom for Alleged Rape Victim, Journalist Still Jailed

Photo: This Day
Symbol of justice.

Mogadishu — A Mogadishu court reduced the sentence of jailed journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur (Koronto) and gave jailed alleged rape victim Lul Hassan Ali her freedom, Garowe Online reports.

After a Mogadishu court granted an appeal hearing late last month, Koronto and Lul's lawyer Mohamed Mohamud Farah argued that the two were wrongly convicted.

Lul and Koronto were found guilty of defaming the government and sentenced to 1 year in prison after Koronto interviewed Lul who alleged that Somali forces raped her. Although the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) says Koronto never published the story.

According to local sources, he urged that if the court were based on "justice" then the two would be granted their freedom.

After 2 weeks of hearings, the judge presiding over the trial, Mohamed Hassan Ali handed out a verdict of not guilty for Lul and reduced Koronto's sentence to 6 months in prison.

Judge Ali said that the evidence was clear that he did defame Somali authorities however stated that the sentence was too harsh.

Somali journalists were following the case very closely and following the verdict some journalists vented their unhappiness with the outcome of the case.

"Mr. Koronto only interviewed Lul, if she is found guilty than how is the person who merely reported her story still incarcerated," said Abdiqani Farah a freelance journalist based Galkayo.

NUSOJ stated that they were still disappointed with the verdict Koronto received on Sunday.

The Committee to Practice Journalists (CPJ) rated Somalia one of the worst places to practice journalism. According to CPJ, "more journalists fled Somalia between 2007-2012 than any other country in the world."

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