Somalia: Woman stoned to death for adultery
"A woman in green veil and black mask was brought in a car as we waited to watch the merciless act of stoning," one local resident, Abdullahi Aden, told Reuters.
"We were told she submitted herself to be punished, yet we could see her screaming as she was forcefully bound, legs and hands. A relative of hers ran towards her, but the Islamists opened fire and killed a child."
The European Union's presidency condemned the stoning.
"The EU ... condemns a particularly vile execution, which the Islamist insurgents who took control of the city deliberately publicised," it said in a statement.
The Islamists last carried out public executions when they ruled Mogadishu and most of south Somalia for half of 2006. Allied Ethiopian and Somali government forces toppled them at the end of that year, but they have waged an Iraq-style guerrilla campaign since then, gradually taking territory back.
As when they ruled Mogadishu in 2006, the Islamists now controlling the Kismayu area are again providing much-needed security, but also imposing fundamentalist practices such as banning forms of entertainment seen as anti-Islamic.
Relatives of the woman executed in Kismayu, whom they named as Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow, were furious.
"The stoning was totally irreligious and illogical," said her sister, who asked not to be named. "Islam does not execute a woman for adultery unless four witnesses and the man with whom she committed sex are brought forward publicly."
Islamist leaders at the execution said the woman had broken Islamic law. They promised to punish the guard who had shot the child in the melee around the execution.
"We apologise for killing the child. And we promise we shall bring the one who opened fire before the courts and deal with him accordingly," one unnamed Islamist leader told the crowd.
28 October 2008
The Independent / Reuters
29 October 2008
The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! (SKSW) strongly condemns the stoning to death of Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow, a 23 year old Somali woman who was publically tortured and murdered Monday in the local square in Kismayu, Somalia.
Accused of adultery, Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow was buried up to her neck in front of hundreds of people while stones were hurled at her head. She was dragged out of the hole three times to see if she was dead.
Somali Islamist insurgents captured the southern port of Kismayu in August of this year. Witnesses to the stoning said the militants, known as al-Shabaab, accused the woman of adultery and extracted a confession. Although all standard interpretations of sharia, (or collections of Muslim laws,) dictate that adultery must be proven by four eye witnesses in a court of law, the Somali Concern Group reported that the killing was extra-judicial, and that the woman did not receive a trial.
Members of al-Shabaab apparently publicized the execution, killing the woman in front of hundreds of people at the town square. When a relative and others pushed forward to rescue the victim, guards opened fire, killing a child. Islamist leaders have reportedly apologized for killing the child, but offered no such repentance for the stoning of Dhuhulow.
Stoning is a grave and serious violation of International Human Rights Law. Stoning breeches the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (1966), to which Somalia is a signatory.
Article 6 of the ICCPR states that "in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes", of which adultery is not.
Article 7 of the ICCPR states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". This last injunction is reinforced in the 1985 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) of which Somalia is a also a signatory.
Although the killing was carried out by non-state insurgents, Article 2 of the CAT states that "each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction."
We urge the state of Somalia to ensure a prompt and impartial investigation into this grave case. Members of al-Shabaab as well as every individual who took part in the stoning must be brought to justice, and the Somali state should take due diligence in taking every possible measure in order to prevent any such violation of women's human rights from reoccurring.
Furthermore, the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! urges all militias, insurgents, independent armies and other non-state actors in Somalia to respect the human rights of civilians in their communities and unequivocally condemn the practice of stoning.
For more information, please see http://www.stop-stoning.org
- Violence against Women in the context of Political Transformations and Economic Crisis in the Euro-Mediterranean Region:
- Too Young to Wed
- Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo*
- Disposable Victims: Laws and Practices on Gender-related Killings of Women and Girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran