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"Wixii qoran baa quruumo hadhee, muxuu hadal qiimo leeyahay." Somali
 
"Words fly, but scripts stay - for centuries." English
 

Kenya: What crimes against the innocent are perpetrated in your name?

Kenya has legitimate fears and as a sovereign nation is entitled to take reasonable steps to protect its people, but much of what is taking place at present is worthy of a lament


Colonial authorities suppress Mau Mau uprising (1952)

Kenya–Somalophobia & the Heel of Insolent Might

Mark T Jones – The dramatic events surrounding the siege of the Westgate Shopping Mall, Nairobi that began on 21st September 2013 has become seared into the Kenyan psyche. The three day siege and the deaths and casualties that resulted ensured proved both shocking and yet strangely unifying at the same time. Just as the series of attacks in the US on 11th September 2001 caused convulsions and reverberations locally and internationally, the events at Westgate underscored the vulnerability of the East African powerhouse. For all the horrors and futility of it all the local media was determined to find heroism in the darkness and this it indeed managed to do, but equally whilst many sought solidarity in the face of danger further human frailty emerged in the form of bungling and looting on behalf of certain members of those forces sent in to ‘neutralise’ the attackers. Continue reading

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Somalia: Unfair Trials in Military Courts

Unfair trials in Somalia's military courts

Suspected insurgents rounded up during a security sweep in Mogadishu’s Wardhigley district in May 2013. Those arrested during security operations have on occasion been tried in mass trials before the military court — Photo courtesy of Tobin Jones

Government, Donors Should Accelerate Justice Reforms


(Nairobi, May 22, 2014) Human Rights Watch – Somalia’s military courts since 2011 have tried hundreds of people beyond the courts’ legal mandate or in proceedings that fall short of international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should urgently transfer civilian cases to the regular courts. International donors assisting in desperately needed improvements in Somalia’s justice system should not neglect reform of the military courts.

The 33-page report, “Courts of ‘Absolute Power’: Fair Trial Violations by Somalia’s Military Court,” documents violations of basic fair trial rights of defendants tried before military courts, including military personnel, suspected insurgents and supporters, police officers, and ordinary civilians. Human Rights Watch interviewed over 30 defendants and their relatives as well as military court officials, lawyers, and legal experts. They described how military court proceedings restrict defendants’ rights to obtain counsel of their choice, prepare and present a defense, receive a public hearing, not incriminate themselves, and appeal a conviction to a higher court. More than a dozen of those convicted over the last year have been sentenced to death and executed, magnifying the harm to basic rights. Continue reading

What can African leaders learn from Brazil?

 According to the Centre of Economic and Business Research, Brazil made the historical leap in this year’s annual global economic league tables because of its vast reserves of natural resources and its growing cash rich middle class who are spending as Europeans and Americans tighten their belts as a result of the global financial crisis. There is much for African leaders to learn from a country that was once just like theirs in every imaginable way. Continue reading

What does the European Court of Human Rights Judgement mean for the Somali people?

(BSMG) Liban Obsiye and Yusuf SalahThe ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that allowed two prolific serious Somali criminals to remain in the UK for fear of the breach of their Article 3 rights if sent back to war-torn Mogadishu was predictable. This overturned the British Asylum and Immigration  Tribunals decision that although a return to Mogadishu would and could expose deportees to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as persecution, those with connections to the powerful people in Mogadishu might be able to live there safely. Despite the tough on foreign criminal’s stance the British government has adopted, the reality is that their policies are always subject to a compatibility test with European Union law of which the European Convention on Human Rights 1998 is one of. It is so important that if any member States policies do not comply they can be expelled from the Union after a period of financial penalization. Continue reading

Human Rights Watch urges Kenya to stop military recruitment of Somali refugees

Human Rights Watch presses Kenya to prohibit Somali military recruiters from conscripting refugee men and boys in Dadaab, the straggly refugee camps in Kenya, to fight in their war against Islamist groups. Read the full article

Briton linked to hostage deal with Somali pirates is arrested

Independent,  Friday, September 11, 2009 A Briton is facing trial in Somalia after being caught up in an exchange of hostages and pirates between the Horn of Africa and the Seychelles.

The Briton, whose name has not been released, has been described by authorities in Puntland region as a “facilitator” in a plan to hand a party of arrested Somali pirates back to their gang in return for the release of three sailors from the Seychelles.

The arrested man and a Kenyan citizen are believed to be security contractors who had accompanied 23 suspected pirates who had been handed over to Seychelles authorities earlier this year.

With Somalia gripped by a civil war and pirate gangs demanding million-dollar ransoms, an increasing number of private security firms are working in the region.

The pirates were transported to Somalia on a clandestine flight on board two planes last Sunday.

Ahmed Ali Salad, governor of Mudug region in the semiautonomous region of Puntland, said the pilots told authorities they were carrying humanitarian goods.

This is disputed by authorities in the Seychelles, who have denied any involvement in illegal prisoner swaps. Joel Morgan, the small nation’s minister in charge of piracy, denied any deal was struck, saying the men were released due to a lack of evidence.

Governor Salad painted a different picture. “We sent the police force but by the time they arrived the planes were already in the air, so you can imagine how well-organised the plan was,” he said.

The police caught up with the planes at a refuelling stop on Sunday, arresting everyone on board.

The three sailors, who have been held by pirates since being taken hostage last February, have been handed over to the International Red Cross and are expected to be sent home.

The fate of the Briton and Kenyan will be decided by a Puntland court in the coming days.

The Seychelles, which relies on international fishing licences to support its economy, would be seriously compromised if it emerged that it was releasing pirates arrested on the archipelago for trial by international patrols.

At present it is one of only two countries, along with Kenya, where the international armada policing the Indian Ocean near Somalia can take suspected pirates for trial.

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