Thursday, January 31, 2013

Somalia: A human rights group says that a woman who reported being raped by security forces was herself charged by the government

Her crime? Simulating a criminal offense and making a false accusation, among other charges; those two carry a sentence of up to nine years. Human Rights Watch reports that four others, including the woman's husband and a journalist, were also charged with crimes such as "assisting her to secure a profit for the rape allegation." As HRW explains, the woman gave an interview to the journalist about the rape on January 8, 2013; it wasn't published, but the journalist reported the crime two days later to police — only to find himself detained and his home searched. The group has called the charges politically motivated, and reports that Somali police have accused the journalist of helping to produce an al-Jazeera report on rape in Mogadishu; al-Jazeera says that he was not involved. Based on the charges filed, the government seems to be accusing the five of conspiring to discredit it and profit off their claim. Rape is far from a rare occurrence in Somalia.

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