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Somali court gives jail sentences to rape victim, reporter

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Mogadishu court on Tuesday handed down one-year prison sentences to a woman who said she was raped by security forces and a reporter who interviewed her. The judges decided the woman falsely claimed she was raped and had insulted the government.

The judges based their decision on medical evidence that the woman was not raped, said the court’s top official, Ahmed Aden Farah. Farah said the woman’s prison term would be delayed so she could care for her young child.

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Rights groups have decried the case as politically motivated because the woman had accused security forces of the assault. Rape is reported to be rampant in Mogadishu, where thousands of people who fled last year’s famine live in poorly protected camps. Government troops are often blamed.

The charges and resulting sentences may result in even fewer victims of sexual assault coming forward to report attacks in conservative Somalia, rights groups fear.

Three others charged in the case, including the woman’s husband, were acquitted.

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