Somali armed group Al-Shabab should not carry out amputations

Amnesty International has called on the Al-Shabab armed group not to carry out amputations on four men accused of robbery on Tuesday morning in Mogadishu.

The four young men were sentenced on Monday to cross-amputation (amputation of the right hand and the left foot) by an “ad-hoc” court set up by Al-Shabab in their military camp in northern Mogadishu. They were accused of stealing pistols and mobile phones from Mogadishu residents.

“We are appealing to Al-Shabab not to carry out these cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s Africa Deputy Director.  “These sentences were ordered by a sham Al-Shabab court with no due process or guarantees of fairness.”

The four men allegedly admitted to the robbery, but have not been represented by a lawyer, nor are they allowed to appeal against their sentence. The amputations will reportedly take place in Al-Shabab’s camp, Masla, in northern Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab factions and the Hisbul Islam armed group, headed by Sheikh Hassan Aweys, launched a military offensive against forces of the Transitional Federal Government, on 7 May 2009. The armed opposition is in control of several districts of Mogadishu. An Al-Shabab-controlled coalition in the port city of Kismayo, southern Somalia, has carried out at least two amputations since the beginning of 2009.