A SOMALI judge yesterday jailed a woman who said she had been raped by soldiers and a journalist who interviewed her, finding them guilty of making up the story to besmirch the government.
“They fabricated a story to hurt the government,” Judge Ahmed Aden said in court.
The verdict and one-year jail sentences drew condemnation from Somalia’s journalists union. Human rights groups have called the trial politically motivated, aimed at covering up rampant sexual abuse of women by the security forces.
The judge suspended the sentence of Luul Ali Osman, 27, until after she has stopped breastfeeding her baby. Freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur is to begin his term immediately. They both plan to appeal.
Both America and the United Nations criticised the case ahead of the trial.
Osman, her husband, and Abdinur faced charges that included insulting a government body, making false accusations, and seeking to profit from the allegations. During the trial, the judge refused to hear the evidence of three witnesses in defence of Osman and Abdinur.
Osman’s husband was acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
The National Union of Somali Journalists described the trial as an attack on press freedom.