SOMALIA. THOUSANDS WATCH PUBLIC EXECUTION IN MOGADISHU
September 22, 2006: over 6,000 people watched the public execution of a convicted murderer in the Somali capital Mogadishu, the first execution since the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) seized power from an alliance of warlords on June 5.
Abduqadir Diriye, a man in his mid-20s, had admitted killing a business man in a row over a mobile telephone.
A second condemned man due to be executed was given a reprieve after his family pleaded for clemency and saw his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
People began arriving at the site of the execution - a square near a police academy - in the morning. An Islamic Courts prosecutor had invited the public over radio to witness the execution.
Journalists and spectators were warned against taking photographs. A man with a dyed-red beard scrutinized the crowd from a jeep mounted with a heavy machine gun. The prisoner, whose hands and feet were bound and head was covered, was told to pray before being shot by a firing squad of eight men.
The mother of the executed man was reported to have said that she was glad that the court had dispensed justice.
During the execution, some of the crowd shouted 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great) while others were clearly distressed by the spectacle, some even physically sick. Omar Iman, a senior Islamist official, told the crowd gathered at a public square that the execution was a deterrent. "We have started fulfilling the sharia (law). Let this be a warning to future criminals," he said. (Sources: Deutsche Presse-Agentur and Reuters News Service, 22/09/2006)