In Somalia, insurgents have stoned a woman to death. The woman, who relatives named as Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow, was buried in the ground up to her neck and pelted with rocks until she was dead. The “crime” of which she was accused was adultery.
The 23-year-old woman was placed in a hole up to her neck for the execution late on Monday in front of hundreds of people in a square of the southern port of Kismayu, which the Islamist insurgents captured in August.
Stones were hurled at her head and she was pulled out three times to see if she was dead, witnesses said. When a relative and others surged forward, guards opened fire, killing a child.
“A woman in green veil and black mask was brought in a car as we waited to watch the merciless act of stoning,” one local resident, Abdullahi Aden, told Reuters.
“We were told she submitted herself to be punished, yet we could see her screaming as she was forcefully bound, legs and hands. A relative of hers ran toward her, but the Islamists opened fire and killed a child.”
The European Union’s presidency condemned the stoning.
“The EU … condemns a particularly vile execution, which the Islamist insurgents who took control of the city deliberately publicized,” it said in a statement.
The Islamists last carried out public executions when they ruled Mogadishu and most of south Somalia for half of 2006. Allied Ethiopian and Somali government forces toppled them at the end of that year, but they have waged an Iraq-style guerrilla campaign since then, gradually taking territory back.
According to this NY Times blurb, Somali human rights officials say that the woman did not in fact commit adultery, but was raped.
Originally, I felt like this factor mattered. It’s an instinctual response, to think that this murder was even more unjust if the reasoning regarded a violent act committed against her. Of course, it does matter and we should care if she was raped in the sense that it would be another tragedy and human rights violation stacked on top of this one. And if Asha said that she was raped, I believe her.
But in the end, whether she was killed because of a rape, because of consensual sex, or because of sexual contact neither consensual or non-consensual because it was entirely imagined, it’s not the point. To emphasize that Asha was murdered because she was raped, and that’s why her death is a tragedy is to suggest that it would be less tragic if she actually had committed consensual adultery.
Asha’s life was taken from her, quite simply, because she was a woman. And a child was killed, it seems, because someone dared to even suggest with their body language that the murder was unjust. It’s a human rights violation, regardless of the details, and we should be saddened and outraged.
As I came up pretty empty-handed: if you have information on any feminist or human rights groups, particularly those from the region, working on crimes like this one, please leave that information in the comments or email me and I will add it to the post.