Somaliland: The Case That Shook Hargeisa
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) - The Hargeisa regional court sentenced a middle aged lady to eight months imprisonment for sending affronting SMS messages to the Somaliland minister in the office of the president Hon. Hersi Ali Hassan.
Nadra Mohammed Jama was detained in the police custody for one month before she was convicted. She appeared before the judge four times while the complainant appeared only once.
The residents of Hargeisa who were keenly following this case wondered as to why the court refused Nadra a bail to enable her to appear in court only when her case was being heard, as she was the bread winner of her family. After the verdict was read, a lawyer from attorney general's office appealed against the ruling. It is believed that the lawyer, presenting the powerful minister, appealed against the judgment in order to prevent the accused from paying the fine for her sentence.
It is incredibly pathetic for government to take a case to court and at the same time show lack of confidence in its ruling while the poor accused family members accepted the verdict. How can the populace have faith in a judiciary that is not convicted by the government that rules the land and set it up?
The Minister termed the SMS message that no other pair of eyes has seen except his, as immoral and abusive to him, the president and the first lady.
This case was very sensitive to the residents of Hargeisa and the country in general because it was a unique case. The courtroom was always filled up by people who were interested to listen to this exceptional case hoping that the complainant, the minister, will also appear in court. He only appeared once and that day the entire vicinity of the regional court was flooded by RRU, a special police unit, funded by the British government to fight terrorism; and the roads passing by the court was closed. Such acts are only taken when a case related to terrorism is taking place.
It is imperative that the ruling of Nadra's case and the following appeal are looked into in a bid to let the poor citizen get her rights under the law; since it is rare to find independent human rights organizations in the country.
This editorial was original posted by the Hornnewspaper an English weekly newspaper published in Hargeisa by the Geeska Media Group.