Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

QEYBDIID: Victim or Victimizer??

Swedish authorities’ move to arrest and question Mr. Abdi Qebdiid, has certainly brought high level of tension among the Somalis both back home and Diaspora. The questions that need to be answered will be, is the accused a victim of politically motivated charge or he is a victimizer? Did Jowhar and Mogadishu respond fairly? What are the rights of the alleged victims (in this case refugees from Somalia in Sweden)?

We all know that Sweden is a democratic country with functioning judicial system like many other countries and Mr. Qeybdiid will either be released by the court of law or prosecuted under the law and certainly he will not persecuted. The allegations are serious and the court cannot ignore them, simply because as lot of people put it, the accusers are from different tribe than Mr. Qeybdiid. Of course what was going on in Somalia during the period that he is alleged to commit the crimes was fighting among the tribes and therefore his victims will absolutely be from the opposite tribes. So, I am not surprised at all that the people who forwarded the allegations to the authorities are from the “other tribes”. Does that make him guilty automatically? I don’t think so; since the allegations are so serious there have to be enough evidence to show that he did what he is alleged to have done.

If the charges are politically motivated and there is no substance to them, then the court will order his release. Does that make him innocent? God knows, he might or might not be innocent, but one have to assume that one is innocent until proven guilty. Crimes against humanity happen in Somalia on daily basis where the warlord controlled militia deliberately kill and rape people from other tribes. So, the argument that states the alleged victims are from different tribe than the accuser, therefore the accuser is not guilty is wrong and injustice. I don’t believe that a Swedish judge will favor one Somali tribe from the other.

In my opinion, the person who is victimized has every right to seek justice and no agreement whatsoever made in any country can forfeit that right. To use the Somali reconciliation conferences as forum to burden all the crimes committed against innocent civilians or crimes against humanity is unacceptable and illegal. Individuals or the groups of people have the choice to forgive their victimizers in a forum like The Truth And Reconciliation process in South Africa or they certainly have the rights to pursue legal actions to get remedy for the wrongs done to them.

For the Speaker of the Somali parliament and his group to go in front of the whole world and say that Somalis reconciled their differences and all the crimes committed were forgiven is absolutely ridiculous. Can he (the speaker) speak for the rape victims, children whose parents slaughtered in front of them or mothers who lost their loved ones. He can advocate for his friend’s release but he cannot dismiss serious allegation like this with a false pretense.

I think the TFG responded professionally, they stated the facts of the case and their willingness to cooperate with the Swedish authorities about the case and they did not try to spin this for political reason and accuse other opposing warlords.

Let justice prevail and I hope that for future deterrence we should encourage the victims of horrible crimes to come forward and seek justice wherever possible. No matter what clan or social status the alleged victimizer is from, he or she should be prosecuted and if found guilty punished.

A. AbowToronto, Canada E-mail:
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)"


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