A gay Somali teen was allegedly stoned to death on March 15, according to an advocacy group that posted about the incident online.
A Facebook group calling itself Somali Queer Community posted information and graphic photos of the alleged stoning on its social media page Saturday. The post states that Mohamed Ali Baashi, 18, was tried and convicted of sodomy by a rebel judge from the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabab in the Barawa area of southern Somalia. In front of a crowd of villagers, Baashi was reportedly pelted with rocks until he was dead, the group's post goes on to claim.
The three photos accompanying Somali Queer Community's post are actually from unrelated incidents several years ago. In a Facebook message sent to The Huffington Post, the group maintained the veracity of the stoning, though not the images. The incident is "100% true," the message said, and the story is being aired on Somali national radio and in local papers.
The Associated Press has also confirmed the stoning, writing that Yusuf Abdi, a local resident, "said the group buried a blindfolded man to his waist last Friday and threw stones at him until he died."
But details of the man's alleged crime are still sketchy. Though an Al-Shabab official claimed that the man had forced a 13-year-old boy to have sex with him, Somali Queer Community told HuffPost that it had been unsuccessful in its attempt to confirm this account.
Despite the election last year of a reformist president, governmental rule of law does not extend much further than the Somali capital city of Mogadishu, reports The Economist.
Al-Shabab, a group with ties to al Qaeda, maintains authority in southern and central regions where it enforces a strict version of Sharia law. The group is known to carry out public punishments, including stonings, according to Amnesty International.
In 2010, Islamic militants from the rebel group Hizbul Islam stoned to death a 48-year-old man accused of adultery.
Similarly, a 13-year-old girl was stoned to death in a stadium in 2008. Though Amnesty International says the girl had been gang-raped, an Al-Shabab "jury" accused her of adultery.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association notes that death is a punishment for homosexuality in some part of Somalia where Islamic courts comprise the justice system. Columbia Human Rights Law Review confirms this, while noting that Somalia's official Penal Code does not include a death penalty clause.