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Four youths flogged for gang rape in Somalia

Two of them appeared unfazed after the lashing, which was ordered by an Islamic court and points to the lack of any formal judicial or governance structures in the war-ravaged East African nation.

March 10, 2009|Associated Press

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA — Four youths were publicly whipped in the Somali capital Monday after an Islamic court found them guilty of gang rape, underscoring the government's inability to administer justice in the war-ravaged nation.

Judge Abdul Haq insisted that the punishment would deter other would-be rapists, but two of the youths smiled and laughed as they were punished. The lashing was administered over the clothes of the accused and did not break their skin.

In October, a 13-year-old who said she had been raped was sentenced to death in the city of Kismayo after Islamic militants accused her of adultery. She was stoned to death in front of 1,000 spectators.

Most of the courts' judges have links to the country's Islamist insurgency and base their judgments on interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law. They are one of the few institutions left in a shattered country that has not had a functioning government since 1991.

Few people have any faith in the often predatory police force, going instead to the courts, which issue rulings about once a month and can dispatch armed men to enforce them if necessary.

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