SOMALIA. PROSECUTOR SEEKS DEATH SENTENCE IN TRIAL
August 30, 2005: prosecutors in the self-declared republic of Somaliland asked a regional court to sentence to death 10 people suspected of killing aid workers between 2002-2004.
The 10 suspects were accused of killing award-winning Italian aid worker Annalena Tonelli in October 2003, a British teaching couple Richard Eyeington and his wife Enid in the same month, and a visiting Kenyan aid worker in March 2004.
At the close of hearings, Somaliland's prosecutor-general Hussein Dhere said the penal code provided for the death penalty for the accused who he called terrorists.
But defence lawyers urged the court to dismiss the prosecutor's stand, arguing it was against Islamic Sharia law to pass a death sentence on the defendants.
"As the defendants have admitted to committing two of the crimes they are accused of, the court should be lenient in its judgment," said Mohamed Jama Abdi, one of the defence lawyers.
The court has held over 20 hearings in which it received testimony from 33 witnesses from the prosecution and four from the defence. Judge Abdirahman Hayanhe said he would give his verdict on Sept. 25.
Security was tight around the court with police manning all roads leading to the court. Only journalists and relatives of the defendants were allowed inside the court. (Sources: Reuters, 30/08/2005)