UNITED NATIONS, March 5 (KUNA) -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was
"gratified" by the Somali Appeals Court dropping charges on Sunday against a
woman who had claimed to be raped by government forces, his press office said
in a statement late Monday.
"The Secretary-General is gratified by the 3 March Appeals Court ruling in
Mogadishu overturning the conviction of an alleged rape victim accused of
maligning the reputation of the state," the statement said.
Ban urged the Somali Government to ensure that allegations of sexual
violence are investigated and perpetrators are brought to justice. He also
emphasized the importance of respect for human rights and a fair judicial
process in the public life of Somalia.
Ban expressed regret, however, that the sentence against a journalist who
interviewed the victim, while shortened from one year to six months, has been
upheld. He welcomed, nevertheless, the government's reaffirmation of its
commitment to independent media and freedom of expression.
Ban expressed "deep disappointment" in early February over the one-year
sentences handed down in Mogadishu, the capital, against the rape victim and
the journalist, and urged the Government at that time to respect their right
to a fair and transparent judicial process, including the right of appeal.
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