- Published on Saturday, 02 May 2009 12:46
- Written by Bill Broderick
- Hits: 2298
WARNING: This article describes a scene of gruesome and horrific cruelty.
The date was October 27, 2008. The place was a football stadium in Kismayu, Somalia. A crowd of more than 1,000 had turned out to witness the execution of a young girl by stoning. Down on the football field, at the centre of a ring of about 50 men, other men bound the girl's arms and legs, then lowered her into a hole so that only her head was above ground. The victim was only 13 years old. She screamed and protested in terror the whole time. Her name was Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow.
According to the account by Amnesty International, the family had started out to travel from the port city of Kismayu to visit her grandmother in Mogadishu. While still in Kismayu, Aisha was violently raped by three men. When the family attempted to report the attack to the armed political group that controls Kismayu, it was Aisha herself who was detained and accused of committing adultery. None of the men she identified as being her rapists were arrested. Amnesty International claims that there was no trial or court hearing of any kind.
At a signal, the 50 men who formed a ring around the terrified girl began to throw their stones. Many missed their target but a few struck her. Her face and head were battered repeatedly by the stones. At one point, nurses were instructed to check whether Aisha was still alive. They removed her from the hole and found that although horribly wounded, she still lived. She was put back into the hole and the stoning continued until she was undeniably dead.
Lapidation, or stoning, is a form of capital punishment that is practiced in some Islamic countries: United Arab Republic, Iran, Iraq, Eastern Turkey, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan.. The practice has a long history going back to Bible times and probably the Stone Age. Custom varies from place to place, but generally involves the victim being bound and buried with either the upper body exposed or just the head exposed. Again, depending on local custom. a sheet may be used to cover the victim from the sight of those throwing the stones.
The crimes for which stoning is prescribed differ from place to place and even from court to court, but almost invariably involve sex.. Islamic sharia law is the basis for the punishment but it is interpreted differently by different legal and religious authorities in different places. The victims are overwhelmingly women. For premarital sex, flogging rather than stoning may be prescribed.
Amnesty International is currently promoting the "Stop Stoning Forever" campaign, originated by women's rights groups in Iran following the stoning of two women in Mashad in 2006. To support this campaign, contact Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON K1N 1H9 (phone 1-800-266-3789, or www.amnestygift.ca).