Remember that time Somalia decided to arrest and imprison a woman who accused members of the police force of raping her? Sure you do. And remember when they also arrested the freelance journalist to whom she’d told her story, along with her husband, and the two people who had supposedly introduced her to the journalist?
Well, today she was convicted of the crime of “insulting a government body,” and sentenced to a one-year prison term. Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, the journalist (who, mind you, never actually published any details of their conversation), was given the same sentence. Her husband and the two intermediaries were acquitted.
You might be thinking that Somalia, faced with the daunting requirements of establishing itself as a functional state, has decided to start small by learning to protect itself from rape victims and unpublished freelance journalism before moving on to, say, evicting violent terrorist groups from its territory.
But we figure Somalia is actually pursuing a more sophisticated strategy, and attempting to position itself not only as a for-reals-we-mean-it-this-time-actual-state, but also as the first official destination for men’s rights tourism. We can see the ad copy now:
Stable, prosperous tourism economy, here we come.
(Fake Somalia tourism ad adapted from image by Flickr user nadim2.)
Somali journalists protest the imprisonment of their colleague. Photo credit: Badri Media
From the six month old Federal Government of Somalia, a step-by-step primer on how to undermine your fledgling regime’s “please help us have a country” PR tour:
- Hire rapists into your police force.
- In the event that a citizen accuses your police force of rape, refuse to investigate the alleged crime, and throw her in prison for good measure.
- Subject her to a two-day interrogation without assistance of counsel until she recants the accusation.
- Chuck her husband in prison, too.
- Track down any journalists who have interviewed the alleged rape victim, and imprison them.
- Charge everyone with “insulting the government” and various other made up sounding crimes.
- Rinse, repeat.
All in all, a process guaranteed to make donor countries look at your security forces and think “State capacity is the best. Let’s send these guys some more money!”
Biggest merger since peanut butter and jelly? I think we all saw both these coming.
I’ve thought about this a lot so I’m glad someone decided to write about it.
I’ll leave you all with a (rare) happy ending this week. We got a tip from Kim Yi Dionne earlier today about Ralph Kasambara, a political prisoner in Malawi who was being held in what are terrifyingly called “condemned cells.” Deets are here. But, in the time from when we got the tip to now, “a Judge has issued a High Court Order for the immediate release of Ralph.” Now, let’s not forget to knock on wood, but this actually sounds like good news. Don’t get used to it…
Don’t worry, guys. I’m back and I only missed three of the four fist fights in the Somali Parliament.
Looks like the Justice Department, after 85 years, has finally gotten around to broadening the definition of rape. Unfortunately, some commenters on CNN took this not as good news, but instead as an opportunity to make “cougar” jokes.
Lastly, let us not mourn Kim Jong-il, but instead look back at the good times.
Why in the world would you wanna make this your issue? Even if it’s just meant to be part of a broader deregulation platform, this is now your issue. Congrats. (Hat tip to Aleksandra!)
Are donkeys under the jurisdiction of the ICC?
Paul Biya re-”elected” in Cameroon, gives him a reason to get out of Switzerland for a little while.
Props to Hugo Chavez for his Yul Brynner reference. No props for saying he’s gonna rule for another 20 years. Give it a rest, dude.
Medvedev planning to rap about the budget.
Somalis can apparently now thank members of the Kenyan government for putting al-Shabaab between them and their samosas (perhaps inadvertently).
Huh? (via FP Passport)
Nice job, WaPo. Teach kids to call places that aren’t America “exotic.” Start ‘em young.
Was the UN calling for a temporary cease-fire before? Well, that would explain a lot…
Some good news from Somalia, and bonus, it’s about lions!
Katharine Houreld of the AP reports today that Somali authorities, in an unusual show of state capacity, have rescued a pair of rare Berbera lion cubs from being trafficked abroad. This is the first time animals have been confiscated from smugglers in Mogadishu. Apparently, the port manager noticed the baby lions aboard a ship and reported their presence to an organization training AU peacekeepers, which is now housing the cubs and keeping them supplied with tasty goat snacks. So: go Somali government. Way to do a thing!
And, because it’s totally relevant, here are some lion cubs I saw last spring at the Bronx zoo (where you probably shouldn’t go until they track down that poisonous cobra).
With the South Sudan referendum fast-approaching, George Clooney’s “Not On Our Watch” is funding commercial sattelites to monitor possible conflict in the country. Clooney has described it as “the best use of his celebrity.” Kinda just seems like he’s trying to recruit a mercenary for Ocean’s Fourteen.
The Dominican Republic has again begun deporting illegal immigrants from Haiti after suspending this practice in the wake of last year’s earthquake. Alright, looks like everything’s back to normal.
Al Shabaab has arrested regional leaders for stealing $10,000 in aid intended for drought-affected areas. If they just kicked out the remaining aid agencies they wouldn’t have to worry about this kind of embarrassment…