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
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.
Somalias 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.
Somalias 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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