Two men were publicly executed by firing squad on Tuesday for the gang-rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Somalia.
Aisha Ilyas Adan went missing for a few hours in February last year and was later found dumped near her house in Galkayo, Puntland region after she was gang-raped, tortured and murdered.
Local reports say Abdifatah Abdirahman Warsame, 24, and Abdishakur Mohamed Dige, 46, were shot by a firing squad in the town of Bosaso, on Somalia’s north coast after they were found guilty of the incident.
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The execution of a third man, 32-year-old Abdisalam Abdirahman Warsame, was delayed for ten days so that authorities can re-evaluate his case.
The father of the victim, who appointed the executioners, said he believes that the punishment will serve as a warning to others.
Aden was kidnapped, gang-raped and killed on February 24, 2019 after her mother had sent her to a market to get a few items.
Her rape and killing sparked protests and rage among Somalis and the diaspora who demanded justice for her.
Ten men were arrested in connection with the case and samples taken linked three men to the murder and rape while the other seven were acquitted.
Their trial became the first televised rape trial in Somalia and the first in which DNA was used to obtain a conviction, according to VOA.
Authorities in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region passed the country’s first law criminalizing offenses such as sexual harassment and rape in 2016.
Women’s rights campaigners say convictions under the law are rare while police usually do not see the violence of women as a serious crime.
“Sexual violence is sadly not a shocking occurrence in Puntland,” said Hawa Aden Mohamed, founder of the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development, which promotes women’s rights. “For years it has been relatively commonplace.”
The Centre has, however, commended the government, saying that this is “the first time such a sentence has been meted in a case involving a woman.”
“While we do not support the death penalty, we believe that this will send the strongest message that violence against women will not be tolerated,” it said in a statement.