For Immediate Release

Somalia: Girl Stoned Was a Child of 13

WASHINGTON - Contrary to earlier news reports, the
girl stoned to death in Somalia this week was 13, not 23, Amnesty
International can reveal.

Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was killed on Monday, 27 October, by a group
of 50 men who stoned her to death in a stadium in the southern port of
Kismayu, in front of around 1,000 spectators.

Some of the Somali journalists who had reported she was 23 have told
Amnesty International that this age was based upon a judgement of her
age from her physical appearance.   

She was accused of adultery in breach of Islamic law but, her father
and other sources told Amnesty International that she had in fact been
raped by three men, and had attempted to report this rape to the
al-Shabab militia who control Kismayo, and it was this act that
resulted in her being accused of adultery and detained. None of men she
accused of rape were arrested.

"This was not justice, nor was it an execution. This child suffered
a horrendous death at the behest of the armed opposition groups who
currently control Kismayo," said David Copeman, Amnesty International's
Somalia Campaigner.

"This killing is yet another human rights abuse committed by the
combatants to the conflict in Somalia, and again demonstrates the
importance of international action to investigate and document such
abuses, through an International Commission of Inquiry."
Amnesty International has learnt that:      

  • Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was reported as being 23, based upon a
    judgement on her physical appearance, according to one of the
    journalists who had reported the stoning. Her actual age was confirmed
    to Amnesty International by other sources, including her father.
  • Her father said she had only travelled to Kismayo from Hagardeer refugee camp in north eastern Kenya three months earlier.
  • She was detained by militia of the Kismayo authorities, a coalition
    of Al-shabab and clan militias. During this time, she was reportedly
    extremely distressed, with some individuals stating she had become
    mentally unstable.
  • A truckload of stones was brought into the stadium to be used in the stoning.
  • At one point during the stoning, Amnesty International has been
    told by numerous eyewitnesses that nurses were instructed to check
    whether Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was still alive when buried in the
    ground. They removed her from the ground, declared that she was, and
    she was replaced in the hole where she had been buried for the stoning
    to continue.
  • An individual calling himself Sheik Hayakalah, was quoted on Radio
    Shabelle saying:``The evidence came from her side and she officially
    confirmed her guilt, while she told us that she is happy with the
    punishment under Islamic law.'' In contradiction to this claim, a
    number of eye witnesses have told Amnesty International she struggled
    with her captors and had to be forcibly carried into the stadium.
  • Inside the stadium, militia members opened fire when some of the
    witnesses to the killing attempted to save her life, and shot dead a
    boy who was a bystander. An al-Shabab spokeperson was later reported to
    have apologized for the death of the child, and said the milita member
    would be punished.


Amnesty International has campaigned to end the use of the punishment
of stoning, calling it gruesome and horrific. This killing of Aisha
Ibrahim Duhulow demonstrates the cruelty and the inherent
discrimination against women of this punishment.

The reports on this killing should be understood within the climate
of fear that armed insurgent groups such as al-Shabab have created
within the areas they control in Somalia. As Amnesty International has
documented previously, government officials, journalists and human
rights defenders face death threats and killing if they are perceived
to have spoken against al-Shabab, who have waged a campaign of
intimidation against the Somali people through such killings.   

Since the death, a number of individuals have told Amnesty
International they have fled from Kismayo out of fear of suffering a
similar fate to Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow.



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