Somalia’s president has admitted that the country’s justice system is weak, a few months after a Somalian journalist was imprisoned for interviewing a rape victim.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is currently pleading for help from the world in order to restore Somalia’s peace after years of civil war.
There has been a recent outrage over the sentencing of a Somalian woman who claimed that soldiers raped her, along with the jailing of freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim who interviewed her.
The 27 year old woman claimed that government soldiers raped her and following this she was accused in court of making false accusations. However it was concluded that there was not enough evidence to support this accusation.
It was also concluded that the woman was misled into giving an interview to Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim under unethical circumstances, whilst also breaking Somalian law.
Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim was put into detention on 10th January this year and along with the victim they were sentenced to one year in prison. Although the woman was later released, the journalist appealed his sentence and will remain in prison for six months instead of a year.
This is a running theme throughout authoritarian countries because when someone speaks up against the regime of the government army, who are known to be torturous towards innocent civilians, they are beaten, killed or imprisoned.
If any progress is to be made in Somalia, let alone other countries with similar problems, this kind of practice needs to be stopped. People need freedom of speech, they should not be scared to admit they have been a victim of governmental crime; especially by the army who should be protecting them.
At least President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has stated outright that the Somalian justice system is weak and by acknowledging this he is making the first steps towards improving it.
He also said he believed it was time for the UN Security Council to allow the country to have weapons again in order to combat the threats within the country, as Somalia have had an arms ban since 1992; the ban has now been lifted to a certain extent.
He specifically mentioned a group called al-Shabab who are known by many countries as a terrorist group and have been known to kill aid workers in order to stop help getting to people in need.
By getting back the weapons that have been banned from the country, the President says that he wants to help his people fight back against those evil armed forces who choose to rape women as well as terrorist groups such as al-Shabab who are only pushing back the country’s progress by destroying it.
Amongst all the stories, we constantly hear about leaders using the army to kill their own people. It is refreshing to hear that there is a President out there who wants to fight back against the injustice in his country, rather than prolong it.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told Al Jazeera: “Amnesty is an advocate for human rights and human rights cannot be protected without security institutions in place.”
Although gaining weapons seems to be the only option to defend the country against terrorists, it is a worrying thought that this is the only option; will getting rid of violence with violence really work?
If Somalia needs the world’s help in getting to a peaceful state then the world should do just that. It may be the strengthening of the justice system and the elimination of corrupt government forces that would benefit the country more than weapons. Whatever the solution, it has to be found quickly because the last thing the world needs right now is more bloodshed.