Somalia woman charged after alleging rape by security forces


A group of women, all of whom survived some form of sexual or violent attack pose for a photograph at a shelter for women in Mogadishu.


Kate Holt/UNICEF

The Somali government has charged a woman after she alleged security forces gang raped her.

The woman, who has not been named, has been charged with making a false accusation and having "insulted and lowered the dignity of a National Institution," which could mean many years in prison, according to The New York Times

Her husband has also been locked up in prison for backing up his wife's claims, and so has Somali journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, who interviewed the woman, even though he hasn't published anything regarding the alleged rape.

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The Somali government said that the woman was lying for financial gain and that she has admitted her story to be "bogus."

US-based Human Rights Watch said the charges "made a mockery of the new Somali government's priorities," reported BBC News. The group is urging authorities to drop the charges against the woman.

The woman was released from prison when she retracted her allegations after two days of police interrogation without a lawyer present, BBC also noted. Her husband was arrested to replace her. A man and woman who introduced the woman to Ibrahim were also arrested.

BBC's Mohamed Mwalimu in Mogadishu said the woman, who is looking after a child, has to report to the police twice a day. The other four accused remain in jail.