Horizon Institute Renews Its Call for An Independent Investigation into the Mishandling of the Hargeisa Orphanage Case

On 25 June 2020, Horizon Institute issued a public statement asking the government of Somaliland to initiate an independent inquiry into how, and why, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) failed to carry out a serious probe into allegations that a teenage girl at Hargeisa Orphanage had been subjected to the pain and trauma of rape. The recommendation had a twofold purpose. The first was to ensure the victim received the justice she needed and deserved. The second was to make certain there was sufficient evidence against the young boys from the Orphanage who had been arrested for the crime after the CID had conducted a few hasty interviews.

Unfortunately, an independent review did not take place. Instead, there was a rush to judgement, with two trials in Hargeisa, in October before the Regional Court of Maroodi-Jeeh and in December before the Court of Appeal of Maroodi-Jeeh. In a statement issued on 30 December 2020, Horizon detailed what it described as a miscarriage of justice against five of the boys who have consistently denied complicity in rape. Arguing the decision to sentence them to imprisonment had no basis in law, Horizon also criticized the complete absence of evidence against these young defendants. The case is now due to be heard at the Supreme Court where, it is hoped, the boys will be set free.

Yesterday, 11 January 2021, the families of four of the young boys spoke publicly on television. They made a powerful appeal for justice, not only regarding their sons and grandsons, but also for the victim.

The families who spoke up yesterday did so in the belief that having their voices heard would lead, at the very least, to a more just outcome when the case goes to the Supreme Court. Horizon Institute shares their confidence that an informed and objective trial, based on a careful examination of all the evidence, will earn these five boys their freedom. Such an outcome must also be accompanied by a determination to find the truth about what happened at the Orphanage, how and under what circumstances a young girl in its care was subjected to hideous violence, why the truth was covered up and who bears the responsibility for this chain of unfortunate events.

Click here to read the full statement.

For links to the TV interviews with the families: Click here: Horn Cable, and MM Somali TV.

To read Horizon’s two previous statements on the Orphanage case, click here:

Statement 1:  Somali, English.

Statement 2:  SomaliEnglish.

Horizon Institute is working to advance the rule of law and human rights. Our reports and discussion papers explore issues identified through our work. They provide information and analysis intended to stimulate debate among the public, government institutions, the media, human rights groups, NGOs, independent bodies and donors and promote government policies based on respect for human rights, the rule of law and the encouragement of self- reliance.

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