Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-Somali Federal Parliament Member, Hon. Gobsan Mohamed, criticized the country’s police and judicial system on Monday, addressing the injustices that are rampant within the cells following the visit made by the Parliamentary committee on Human Rights, Justice, and Women’s Affairs.

Speaking in the parliamentary session, the MP accused the law enforcement officers and the courts for delivering unjust judgements against minors, some of whom have been kept in remand for over a decade without trial.

“I have visited the cells in Somalia, I am deeply shocked by what I have witnessed. Minors are being arrested and tried unfairly, subjected to inhumane treatment,” MP Gobsan remarked.

“A 70-year-old was arrested for attempting suicide, Islamically judged to pay blood money, and yet he has been held in a cell for 30 years even after fully compensating the victim’s family,” she added.

The MP further elaborated on the mistreatment within the cells and neglect in providing proper care to minors requiring medical attention.

“I have seen an 11-year-old boy accused of rape, a 13-year-old facing murder charges, and a 17-year-old allegedly linked to Al-Shabaab militants. The 17-year-old was outside the room, suffering from yellow fever and wearing only shorts. This young boy could potentially spread the disease to other inmates if not provided medical care,” the MP said.

“Regardless of whom you’re defending, if you’re truly advocating for the rights of innocent Somalis, do you believe it’s right for someone to remain in remand for 4 to 5 years awaiting a judgment?” asked MP Gobsan.

The arrest of former Somali Member of Parliament Mina Abikar has sparked a very serious debate in today’s parliamentary sessions, as the majority of the MPs claim that she was unfairly judged.

The MP’s statement comes two weeks after the Commander of the Somali Custodial Cops, Gen. Mahad Abdirahman aka Shub, accused the Police and courts of keeping suspects on remand for more than ten years without a judgement.

“In the cells, we only keep those who have been arrested by the police and investigation agencies, but upon analysis, you might believe they were unjustly arrested or judged,” stated General Shub.

He added, “There is someone who has been in custody for 10 years, and he is only in remand without being judged. Where is the justice here? Of course, there is no justice.”

However, Somalia’s Supreme Court President, Bashe Yusuf Ahmed, refuted the commander’s claims and stated that no one is entitled to prolonged remand without being judged.

“The claims that there are prisoners who are waiting for judgment and kept in cells for 10 years are far from the truth and impossible. Even for a suspect, remand cannot extend for five months; the time frame for suspects to be remanded is between 15 to 90 days to provide room for investigations, and any other extension given by the court falls within this range,” stated the President of the Supreme Court.

The Attorney General, Suleyman Mohamed Mohamud, also dismissed the claims, stating that the office of the Attorney General oversees investigations and acquires records of the prisoners every 48 hours. He emphasized that no suspect was kept in prolonged remand without being judged.

“These claims that one is kept in remand for 10 years are lies and should be regarded as nothing more than misinformation. Whoever said so should withdraw their statement or provide substantial evidence to prove these claims,” stated Suleyman Mohamed, the Attorney General.

For years, Somalia’s judicial system has been facing relentless criticism from the public and experts alike due to perceived unfair judgments, especially concerning crime cases.

There has been growing discontent with the judiciary’s performance, which has been a crucial challenge for the government and has led to calls for reforms to address these shortcomings.

Somalia’s investigations agencies have recently intensified efforts to combat corruption and strengthen their systems to foster justice in cases that have jeopardized the country’s growth.

In early June 2023, the Office of the Attorney General issued arrest warrants for 18 top government officials in relation to the $21 million scandal following thorough forensic investigations conducted by the Office of the Auditor General. The case is now at the Benadir regional court and will be determined upon the conclusion of the hearing.

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