Woman Claims Rape— and Somalia Charges Her

Government accuses her of trying to discredit it, profit
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2013 8:12 AM CST
Woman Claims Rape— and Somalia Charges Her
A Somali woman (not the one in question) crosses a street while soldiers of the Djiboutian Contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) stand guard.   (AP Photo/ AU-UN IST / Stuart Price)

Today's tale of alleged injustice comes out of Somalia, where 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 alleged rape on Jan. 8; it wasn't published, but the journo 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 Somali police have accused the journalist of helping to produce an al-Jazeera report on rape in Mogadishu; al-Jazeera says 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. And as the AP notes, rape is far from a rare occurrence in Somalia. (Read more rape stories.)

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