Amnesty International (AI) has expressed concern over the prosecution by authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland of a 16-year-old girl, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh, and her taxi driver on espionage charges, saying the trial had not met international fairness standards.
AI said that Zamzam was "allegedly tortured by rape and beatings by police officers" and expressed concern that she had been detained and tried as an adult.
"Omar Jama Warsame [the taxi driver] was allegedly tortured by beatings," AI said in a statement issued on Tuesday. "Their trial has already fallen far short of international standards of fairness."
According to AI, the two were arrested on 15 August at the residence of Vice President Yusuf Yasin in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, and were originally charged with conspiracy to assassinate him, a charge they denied.
She said that she arrived at the vice president's home by mistake when she was looking for the residence of a deputy minister she claims to be related to her family. The prosecution on 9 October changed the main charge to espionage, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.
AI demanded that Somaliland authorities treat Zamzam as a child and that her claims of being raped and beaten be investigated.
"In order to uphold the principles of child-rights protection and also to ensure that she has all necessary medical treatment, Zamzam should be provisionally released, rather than detained in an adult prison for a prolonged and indefinite period," AI said.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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