Somali govt charges woman who says she was raped

Associated Press

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The Somali government has charged a woman who has said she was raped by security forces, according to an international human rights group, which says the case is politically motivated.

The group said a journalist who interviewed her was also charged.

Human Rights Watch said three other people including the woman's husband were charged with assisting the alleged rape victim to evade investigators. The rights group said in a statement Wednesday that Somali government should drop the politically motivated charges.

The woman was charged in Mogadishu court Tuesday of insulting a government body, inducing false evidence, simulating a criminal offense and making a false accusation while journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur has been charged with insulting a government body and inducing the woman to give false evidence.

Under the Somali penal code Abdinur faces up to four years in prison for the first charge and two years for the second. The charges against the woman carry punishments of up to three and six years respectively, according to Human Rights Watch.

Rights groups say the arrests are linked to an increase in media attention due to reports of the high prevalence of rape and other sexual violence in Somalia, including attacks allegedly committed by security forces.

"Bringing charges against a woman who alleges rape makes a mockery of the new Somali government's priorities," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Rape is rampant in Mogadishu, where tens of thousands of people who fled last year's famine live in poorly protected camps. Government troops are often blamed.

"The police 'investigation' in this case was a politically motivated attempt to blame and silence those who report on the pervasive problem of sexual violence by Somali security forces," Bekele said.

Attempts to contact officials from the Somali government for comment were unsuccessful. Most government officials evaded calls and questions from an Associated Press reporter.

Human rights watch said the woman's husband and a man and woman who helped introduce her to the journalist were charged with assisting the alleged victim to evade investigation, which carries up to a four-year term, and assisting her to secure a profit for the rape allegation, carrying up to a five-year term.

The charge sheet indicates that the government believes there was a conspiracy to discredit it and somehow acquire financial gain, the rights group said in a statement.

The rights group says the charges the five face stem from a January 8 interview between Abdinur and the woman about her rape allegations. Abdinur did not report the story to any media outlet.

Human rights watch says on Jan 10, he was called to report to the Somali Central Investigations Department of the police and when he did, was detained without charge.

Since then he had been interrogated repeatedly and his home was searched, the rights group said. It said the woman retracted her claim after being interrogated for two days by the police without legal counsel; the police then publicly presented her to the media. She was released but her husband was detained in her stead. Credible local sources say it was for insisting that his wife had been raped, Human Rights Watch said.

View Comments (151)

Recommended for You

  • Man sentenced to life with no parole walks free in Missouri

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man sentenced to life in prison without parole on a marijuana-related charge was freed Tuesday from a Missouri prison after being behind bars for two decades — a period in which the nation's attitudes toward pot have steadily softened.

    Associated Press30 mins ago
  • Police officer shot after responding to wrong home

    ATLANTA (AP) — A police officer was shot and critically wounded Monday when he responded to a call of a suspicious person and showed up at the wrong house, authorities said.

    Associated Press
  • This year's El Nino weather pattern could be strongest on record: experts

    By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - The current El Nino weather phenomenon is expected peak between October and January and could turn into one of the strongest on record, experts from the World Meteorological Organization said at a news conference on Tuesday. Climate models and experts suggest surface…

    Reuters33 mins ago
  • U.S. court denies $2 million legal fees to conservatives in voting rights case

    By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday denied $2 million in legal fees sought from the federal government by conservative lawyers who persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 to strike down a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Court of…

    Reuters
  • Woman Becoming Nun Needs Friend's Interest, Not Concern

    DEAR ABBY: I was best friends with "Joanne" after we met in middle school. She comes from a conservative Christian family and has three successful siblings. This has made her quirky, media-driven pursuits and city life a disappointment to her family. When we were teens and she learned that I was a…

    Dear Abby
  • Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announces she's pregnant with twins

    As with the birth of her son three years ago, Mayer writes that she plans to limit the amount of maternity leave she takes.

    CNET
  • Iran clothing with US, British flags sparks arrests

    Iranian police have arrested merchants for selling clothing that featured the flags of the United States and Britain, two longtime foes of the Islamic republic, local media reported Tuesday. Garments imprinted with "Satanic symbols" were also seized from stores in Tehran, city police chief General…

    AFP
  • 2016 Best Colleges Preview: Top 10 Best Value Schools

    For the majority of prospective college students and their families, cost is a major factor in determining which schools are viable options. Knowing which schools are best buys -- which colleges provide the highest quality education for the lowest price -- is imperative.

    U.S.News & World Report
  • Sheriff: Suspect kills mother, stepfather, grandmother

    Outfitted in camouflage and armed with a high-powered rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition, Robert Seth Denton fatally shot his mother, stepfather and grandmother while six children witnessed the carnage in the family's double-wide mobile home in eastern Tennessee, a sheriff said Monday.

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Baby girl recovering from crash that killed her parents

    A baby girl survived a crash in Fresno County, Calif., that killed her parents.

    WPVI – Philadelphia
  • Why an Ohio Judge Is Using Unusual Punishments to Keep People Out of Jail

    From making a man wear a chicken suit to having a woman get sprayed in the face by what she thought was pepper spray, Judge Michael Cicconetti has become a viral sensation for his unique method of sentencing. Just last month, the municipal court judge got international attention for giving…

    ABC News49 mins ago
  • Painkillers to Heroin: the Pros and Cons of Treatments for Opioid Addiction

    The U.S. currently faces an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction -- painkillers, heroin and other drugs made from the same base chemical. The current problem differs from the opioid addiction outbreaks of the past in that it is also prevalent in the middle and affluent classes. Virtually…

    U.S.News & World Report
  • Coerced sterilization of Canadian indigenous women in 70s widespread: researcher

    By Chris Arsenault TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The coercive sterilization of indigenous women in Canadian health centers during the 1970s was more widespread than previously believed, with impoverished communities in the north disproportionately targeted, a researcher has found. The…

    Reuters
  • #1 Reason Not To Buy A New Computer

    Find out the real reason behind slow computers!

    SuperTechConsultSponsored
  • This versatile 15-in-1 Travel Jacket is Kickstarter’s most funded piece of clothing at $7.2M

    Remember the MacGyver Travel Jacket that has 15 compartments that each have their own designated functions? It turns out that so many people loved the idea of having such a “smart” jacket that the project became the most funded piece of clothing in Kickstarter history, topping $7.2 million in…

    BGR News
  • View

    Kentucky county clerk refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses (26 photos)

    Gay couples in a Kentucky county are expected at the courthouse door Tuesday morning after the Supreme Court ruled against a defiant clerk who has refused to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court ruled against the county clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses,…

    Yahoo News
  • Boko Haram killers on horseback massacre nearly 80 in NE Nigeria

    Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback shot dead nearly 80 people in attacks on three villages in Nigeria's restive northeast at the weekend, a vigilante and residents told AFP on Monday. Babakura Kolo, a vigilante fighting Boko Haram, said 68 people were killed in the attack on Baanu village in…

    AFP
  • Investigators: Arizona woman acknowledges drowning twin sons

    PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona woman told investigators that she drowned her 2-year-old twin sons and tried to kill her 3-year-old stepbrother in the same way because she didn't want them to live with the difficulties she faces.

    Associated Press
  • Daughter Deep In Debt Needs Counseling, Not More Money

    DEAR ABBY: Three years ago I gave my adult daughter, married with a child, more than $16,000 to help pay off her debts because she couldn't pay her bills. She and her husband maintain separate accounts, which I find odd. He pays certain expenses; she pays others. Now I find she's deep in debt again…

    Dear Abby
  • 10 Law Schools That Leave Grads With the Least Debt

    The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List:…

    U.S.News & World Report