Backlash feared as military court calls punishment for parents of Al-Shabaab fighters
Mogadishu (Harar24) – Fear and suspicion have become rife in Mogadishu after controversial statements by the Somali Military Court calling for the apprehension and punishment of parents of Al-Shabaab fighters.
The controversial statements were made by Col. Abdirahman Mahmud Turyare, chairman of the military court, as he spoke to the media on Sunday after the execution of three alleged Al-Shabaab fighters, threatening that parents of arrested Islamist fighters would be punished for their children’s actions. “If any Al-Shabaab member is captured his parents will also be arrested, tried in court and face a harsh punishment” said Col. Turyare, adding that “parents should either report their children to us if they’re Al-Shabaab members, or else they’ll face the court along with them”.
“Unlawful & unacceptable”
Col. Turyare’s words have however been met with widespread condemnation from all parts of society, including civil society groups, human rights activist and even some Somali MPs, who deemed the statements as “unlawful”, “going against all logic” and “irresponsible”.
“You cannot hold someone to account for someone else’s actions, these parents of Al-Shabaab fighters are innocent of what their children do, their sons are furthermore grownup and responsible for themselves only” said human right activist, Faduma Ahmed. “What the military court called for is totally against the principles of human rights and unacceptable” she further said.
One of the Somali MPs who spoke regarding the controversial statements was Abdi Barre Yusuf who called the statements “unconstitutional” and was likely to be a cause of revolution against the Somali government if these were carried out. He also called on the military court to retract the statements.
The statements were also condemned heavily by elders in Mogadishu who mentioned that these would have “very bad consequences if not reconsidered”. “If the Somali government starts targeting the parents of Al-Shabaab fighters, we fear that this would open the door for Al-Shabaab to start targeting the families of everyone involved in the Somali government” said tribal elder Abdullahi Rage who further said that “so far Al-Shabaab only target government officials and members, not their families, but if this goes ahead they have given them the green light to attack their families, who are vulnerable to such”.
The Somali military court and its officials are known for a series of controversies and contentious statements, a few weeks ago Col. Turyare also declared that all captured Al-Shabaab fighters would face execution, and will have not be jailed or have any chance of pardon, with nine suspected Al-Shabaab members having been executed thereafter. The parents of some the executed suspects have since come out and claimed their sons were innocent and weren’t affiliated with Al-Shabaab.