Last edited: February 14, 2005

Death Sentence for Somali Lesbians

BBC, February 22, 2001

Two women accused of having a lesbian relationship have been sentenced to death by a court in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland in northern Somalia.

In the first case of its kind in Somalia, a culturally conservative and Muslim nation, the two — whose names were not revealed — were found guilty of "exercising unnatural behaviour".

The relationship between the two women was discovered after one of them sued her partner, who had lived in the United States, for infecting her with a sexually transmitted disease.

Hundreds packed the court in the northern coastal town of Boosaaso earlier this week to hear the case.


They cheered as the judge handed down death sentences on the two women.

The pair are reported to have been tried under Somali Criminal Punishment Law, which is loosely based on Islamic Sharia law.

Somalia’s media report that a date for the executions, which are normally carried out by firing squad in public, is expected to be announced this week.

Our correspondent in Somalia says homosexual activities in Somalia are known to exist, but are rarely mentioned in public.

Human rights organisations in Somalia have yet to react to the ruling.

Somalia’s first government in nearly a decade was appointed last year.

Much of Somalia is still controlled by feuding militia leaders, but Puntland declared itself autonomous from Somalia in August 1998 and has since set up its own administrative infrastructure.

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