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U.N. turns eye on Somali rape case

March 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

UNITED NATIONS, March 5 (UPI) -- Somali leaders are called on to ensure that allegations of sexual violence are brought to justice, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

In January, Somali authorities arrested a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by Somali soldiers last year. Journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim was also arrested for allegedly filing a false report in connection to the case.

A spokesman for Ban said judicial fairness must be upheld in Somali. The government there is called on to "ensure that allegations of sexual violence are investigated and perpetrators are brought to justice."

British Foreign Officer for Africa Mark Simmonds said that while an appeal court in Somalia cleared the alleged rape victim of the charges, the British government was concerned about the legal basis of the case against Ibrahim.

"It is critical that journalists are able to carry out their work free from fear of arrest or detention, and that freedom of expression is protected," he said in a statement.

Somalia received recent international praise for forming a new central government and for making gains against al-Shabaab, a militant group aligned with al-Qaida.

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