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Hargeysa Judicial Court Acquits ‘Hassan Dahir Aweys’ Of Terrorism
Hargeysa, December 09, 2006 (SL. Times) - The regional court of Hargeysa concluded today (09/12/06) its long awaited court verdict for the trial of fifteen suspects accused of committing terrorism related crimes against the State of Somaliland. Among the accused is Hassan Dahir Aweys founder and leader of Mogadishu Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and many other top ranking UIC leaders.
Six of the accused were in absentia, of these two were acquitted Hassan Dahir Aweys and Aden Hashi Ayro and four were given 25 years prison sentence.
Only eight suspects were brought before, Justice Abdirahman Jama Hayaan the presiding judge sitting in the trial. One suspect of the accused was acquitted by the regional court judge for insufficient incriminating evidence, while the rest were all given a prison sentence of 20 – 25 years each.
The eight suspects in custody were identified as Abdirahman Osman Yusuf, Abdirahman Mohmud Jama Indha’ade, Ahmed Ali Hussein, Mohamed Shiekh Ismail, Mohamed Ibrahim, Abdillahi Ahmed Mahmud, Mohamed Mahmud Nur (Farur) and Mussa Ali Yusuf.
The sentenced suspects were charged with involvement in conspiracy to commit terror, destruction, pillage and slaughter in the territories of Somaliland, bringing unlawful arms including explosives into the country and wounding at least 3 policemen in September/October 2005.
The defendants were charged under article 222 of the penal code which carries life imprisonment and the death penalty.
However all the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges during the entire trial which had its first hearing on 1st July 2006.
Sheikh Mohamed Ismail was among two of the accused who got a 25 year prison sentence. Sheikh Mohamed Ismail was, back in last October, seen in a 15 minute video film that made it seem like he was being interrogated and tortured by Somaliland security personnel. The video caused an uproar among supporters of the Union of Islamic Courts. Even though the video was later proved to have been fake, it did not stop the UIC from issuing jihadi rhetoric against Somaliland authorities.
Five suspects in court were each handed down a 20 year prison sentence.
Two of the accused sentenced in absentia for having committed terrorist acts against Somaliland are Ahmed Abdi Godane and Ibrahim Jama Afghani, both are natives of Somaliland but currently live in Mogadishu, each was sentenced to 25 years in prison by Justice Abdirahman Jama Hayaan.
Ibrahim Jama Afghani is one of the highest ranking officials of the powerful Union Islamic Courts in Mogadishu. Ahmed Abdi Godane is also a leading IUC figure. Both men are veterans of the 1980’s liberation war against Russian occupying forces in Afghanistan.
Two of those acquitted in absentia by the regional court of Hargeysa are Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the chief spiritual leader and architect of the UIC and Aden Hashi Ayro, the leading commandant of ‘Al-Shabab’ the elite fighting force of the UIC military wing. Both men were acquitted by Justice Hayaan for lack of sufficient evidence.
Justice Hayaan in his court summary verdict in relation to Aweys and Ayro concluded:
‘ Without doubt Hassan Dahir Aweys and Aden Hashi Ayro had prior knowledge of the terrorist attacks planned to disrupt Somaliland’s legislative parliamentary elections being held in September/October 2005. But, whether they had direct involvement in planning or funding these terrorist operations perpetuated against the State of Somaliland is evidentially non-existent and for this reason I have no option but to dismiss the prosecutions legal case against these men and acquit them of these charges’.
Some of the evidence collected was said to include video tapes in which Hassan Dahir Aweys and Ayro appear to advise the suspects in custody on the need to eliminate influence of “infidels” and to undermine Somaliland’s forthcoming September 2005 parliamentary elections.
Hassan Dahir Aweys is on the list of 189 terrorist individuals and organizations published by the U.S. government and UN after 9/11.
Hassan Dahir Aweys traveled to Afghanistan just weeks before 9/11. In mid August 2001, he visited Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan and was warmly welcomed by the large southern Somali student population in Islamabad. A reception was held on his honour in the hotel ‘Days Inn’ in Islamabad. This is where he made the famous remark “People in Somaliland worship a deity called ‘Peace’ and this deity is mirrored on western ideology ‘Secular State’ and by hook and crook must be dismantled, if we are to have an Islamic government unifying the whole of Somalia”.
Soon after, he traveled to Karachi and visited many mosques often used by Somali students living in Karachi. In each mosque he would often address the students and preach the need to establish a Taliban type government for the whole of Somalia and claim Somalia can achieve a lasting peace among its clans only if we establish a Taliban type government.
On the last week of August 2001, Hassan Dahir Aweys suddenly disappeared from Karachi without trace and could not be found. Three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks from out of the blue he was seen again in Karachi at a relative’s house on the 14th September. It soon became clear that Hassan Dahir Aweys slipped through the Pakistani Afghan border to attend the annual ‘Shura’ or general meeting of Al’Qadia which was held two weeks before 9/11 in Afghanistan. It was also, made known by close relatives of Hassan Dahir Aweys that he had a private and consultative meeting with Usama Bin Laden in one of Al’Qadia’s training camps, where he sought Bin laden’s help and financial assistance in reviving his defunct ‘Al-Itahad’ Jihadi movement in Somalia.
First week, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks Hassan Dahir Aweys left Karachi for Dubai where he stayed for another two weeks. In Dubai, sources close to Somaliland Times have said ‘Hassan Dahir Aweys’ came to Dubai with considerable amounts of money in cash and from there made some commercial contracts with major sugar and fuel companies based in Dubai and Oman and went on to Mogadishu.
Hassan Dahir Aweys kept a low profile from 9/11 up to 2004, and during this period he formed and become a leading figure in a Mogadishu neighbourhood Islamic court belonging to his clan ‘Habar Digir’, Aden Hashi Ayro became the commander of the court’s policing force.
In early 2006 this very court spearheaded the rise of Mogadishu’s Union Islamic Courts movement and went to eventually dislodge the notorious Mogadishu warlords from the city in early June this year.
Rashid M X Noor is an associate editor/producer of Somaliland Times and is based in Hargeysa, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Somaliland Times