By Kylie M Tsudama
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Following the recent stonings in Somalia an independent UN expert called for an end to the “cruel, inhuman and degrading” practices taking place there.
Shamsul Bari, the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia, said the executions by flogging and stoning highlight the “deteriorating” human rights situation in this country.
“I strongly condemn these recent executions by stoning in Al-Shabaab-controlled areas of Somalia,” he said.
According to the strict interpretation of Sharia law (Islamic law) that Al-Shabaab follows, one can be found guilty of adultery if he or she has an affair and has ever been married, even if divorced. An adultery offense is punishable by stoning to death. An unmarried person who has sex before marriage is liable for 100 lashes.
Last week, a 20-year-old divorced woman from a small village near the town of Wajid (250 miles from the capital of Mogadishu) was buried up to her waist and stoned to death in front of a crowd of about 200 on the public grounds. Her boyfriend was sentenced to 100 lashes.
Judge Sheikh Ibrahim Abdirahman, who works for Al-Shabaab militant group, said she was guilty of having an affair with an unmarried 29-year-old man and giving birth to his stillborn child. That made her guilty of the offense.
This is believed to be the second woman stoned to death by Al-Shabaab for committing adultery.
Last year a 13-year-old girl was stoned to death for adultery after she was gang raped. Islamist militants, however, said she was older and married. She was buried up to her neck and stoned to death by 50 men in front of a crowd of 1,000.
Earlier this month a man was stoned to death for adultery. His pregnant girlfriend awaits the same punishment but has been spared until she gives birth.
Somalia’s moderate Islamist president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed believes Al-Shabaab is ruining Islam’s image by killing people and harassing women, saying, “Their actions have nothing to do with Islam.”
Bari has urged all Islamist groups and religious leaders to follow their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian laws.
For more information, please see:
UN News Centre – Somalia: UN Expert Urges end to Inhuman Practices After Recent Stonings – 27 November 2009
Examiner – Al-Shabab Stoning Men, Women, Children in Somalia – 21 November 2009
Al Jazeera – Somali Woman Stoned to Death – 19 November 2009
AP – Somali Woman Stoned to Death for Adultery – 18 November 2009
BBC – Somali Womand Stoned for Adultery – 18 November 2009