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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Somali court frees alleged rape victim, keeps journalist in jail

Sabahionline.com


A Somali appeals court on Sunday (March 3rd) dropped charges against a woman sentenced to a year in jail after she told a reporter she was raped by security forces, but the journalist will remain in jail, AFP reported.

Abdiasis Abdinuur Ibrahim appears in court to appeal his conviction on February 20th. [Abdi Said/Sabahi]
Abdiasis Abdinuur Ibrahim appears in court to appeal his conviction on February 20th. [Abdi Said/Sabahi]

"The court orders the release of the woman, while the journalist will spend six months in jail for offending state institutions," Judge Hassan Mohamed Ali said. "The court has learned that the journalist misled the alleged rape victim into the interview."

Last month, the woman, Lul Ali Osman, and journalist Abdiasis Abdinuur Ibrahim, 25, were found guilty of offending state institutions. Ibrahim was also found guilty of "making a false interview, and entering the house of a woman whose husband was not present".

Osman, who had originally been granted a six-month delay to breastfeed her infant child before having to start her jail term, walked free from the court in Mogadishu after the ruling.

But Ibrahim was led away in handcuffs and put into a truck that took him back to the central prison, sparking angry reactions from rights groups and colleagues.

Daniel Bekele, Human Rights Watch's Africa director, criticised the continued jailing of Ibrahim, who has been in detention since January 10th.

"The court of appeals missed a chance to right a terrible wrong, both for the journalist and for press freedom in Somalia," Bekele said in a statement. "The government has argued that justice should run its course in this case, but each step has been justice denied."

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