Torture in  [Somalia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Somalia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Somalia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Somalia]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                


Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia has maintained a healthy informal economy, largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, fish, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, qat, and machined goods are the principal imports.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Somalia

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Somalia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or download PDF at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


ATTACKS ON MEDIA - Government harassment and intimidation of journalists in Mogadishu, particularly by NISA, and threats against media outlets increased. On February 11, NISA detained Mohamed Haji Bare from Radio Danan and Ibrahim Mohamed from Radio Haatuf, for three days, beating them severely and threatening them, reportedly for taking photos of a deputy governor previously injured in a car bomb.

SIMHA Condemns Radio Journalists arrest and torture

Somalicurrent, 18 Aug 2014

[accessed 15 September 2014]

[accessed 2 August 2017]

Somali independent Media House Association denounces with strongest terms possible the arrest and hence the extreme torture meted against Radio Shabelle director and Sky FM journalist.

Released Shabelle staff has confirmed to SIMHA that the chairman of Radio Shabelle and the director of Sky FM who were arrested last week by Somali Intelligence personnel were extremely tortured while in prison.

“They are under constant horrendous torture and they need urgent interventions,” said of the released journalist who will not disclose his name for security reasons.

Security Forces Open Torture Chembers in Mogadishu

Dalsan Radio, 6 June 2014

[accessed 8 June 2014]

[accessed 30 August 2016]

[scroll down]

"They stopped my car. Then I told them that I am a businessman. One of them said they suspected me. Then they took me to a house where they tortured me". Gurey said.

A lady who resides in the next house came out and asked them who the victim was that night and then they replied "we are torturing one stubborn man from the Diaspora.

Amanda Lindhout tells of her captivity, torture in Somalia

The Canadian Press, 18 August 2013

[accessed 20 Aug 2013]

Amanda Lindhout was captured in Somalia in 2008 while working as a freelance journalist and held captive for more than a year.

After about a year of being starved, beaten and sexually brutalized, Amanda Lindhout decided it was time to kill herself.

The Alberta woman, taken hostage in Somalia in August 2008, says she reached her breaking point after spending three days trussed up like an animal, her hands and feet pulled so tightly behind her back that she could barely breathe.

When her captors did untie her, they told her it was only a reprieve. They promised to use the same torture technique on her again each day until they got their ransom money.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 9 Feb 2014]

DIRECT TARGETING OF CIVILIANS - Al-Shabab factions continued to torture and unlawfully kill people they accused of spying or not conforming to their own interpretation of Islamic law. They killed people in public, including by stoning, and carried out amputations and floggings. They also imposed restrictive behavioural codes on women and men.

Three men were reportedly shot and killed in public by al-Shabab members in Merka in July. They were accused of spying for the CIA and UK intelligence service MI6, and of being responsible for drone attacks.

A woman was abducted and beheaded in August near Baidoa. Days before, al-Shabab had reportedly threatened her to stop her selling tea to government forces in the area.

Extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment were reportedly carried out in Baidoa and Beletweyne by militias allied to the government, often in response to ongoing insecurity and attacks by al-Shabab.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 12 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The unimplemented Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) prohibits torture, and the Puntland Charter prohibits torture "unless sentenced by Islamic Shari'a courts in accordance with Islamic law"; however, there were some reports of the use of torture by the Puntland and Somaliland administrations and warring militiamen against each other or against civilians. Observers believed that many incidents of torture were not reported. Prison guards beat inmates in prison.

Security forces, police, and militias also abused and beat persons during the year. During a January 26 to February 7 mission to Somaliland, the UNIE noted an increase in police brutality in Somaliland. Acts of violence, including several killings, continued against TFG supporters or members (see section 1.a.).

On February 2, 16-year-old Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh was unconditionally freed by authorities and released into the custody of the UNIE. In August 2004 in Hargeisa, Somaliland police arrested and detained Dualeh and Omar Jama Warsame, her taxi driver, on espionage charges; both allegedly were beaten in detention, and Dualeh claimed that six policemen tortured and raped her. In December 2004 Dualeh was tried as an adult without legal representation and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. The four attorneys retained by local human rights activists to represent Dualeh were detained and sentenced to four years' imprisonment after they asked the judge to withdraw from the case due to alleged bias; in December 2004 the attorneys were released on appeal after they paid a fine.

No action reportedly was taken against Somaliland or Puntland forces, warlord supporters, or members of militias responsible for torturing, beating, raping, or otherwise abusing persons in 2004 or 2003.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 7   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 12 February 2013]

There is no judicial system functioning effectively at the national level. In many regions, local authorities administer a mix of Sharia (Islamic law) and traditional Somali forms of justice and reconciliation. Islamist groups that have regained territory since the ouster of the ICU in late 2006 have reimposed Sharia with varying degrees of severity. The harshest codes are enforced by affiliates of the Shabaab. The human rights situation in Somalia remained grim in 2008.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Somalia",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Somalia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Somalia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Somalia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Somalia]  [other countries]