Posts filed under 'Somalia'

2009: Two Somali spies

Add comment October 25th, 2018 Headsman

MOGADISHU, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — Somalia’s Al Shabaab Islamist movement on Sunday executed two young men for alleged spying for the Somali government in the southern town of Marka.

The radical group has been waging insurgency for two years against the Somali government and the African Union peacekeeping forces in the capital Mogadishu.

After the execution was carried out in central Marka town, an official from the group told crowds of local people who gathered to watch the punishment that the men were convicted of spying for the Somali government after “they confessed to the crime.”

“The men were executed because of apostasy and for spying for the apostate government. After three months of investigation and their confession to the crime they were executed in accordance with the Islamic law,” said Sheikh Sultan, an Al Shabaab official in Marka.

Residents said that the young men were executed by firing squad of Al Shabaab fighters as crowds, mainly women and children, looked on the capital punishment.

The hardline Islamist group of Al Shabaab controls much of southern and central Somalia and usually carries out amputations, executions, and floggings of criminals and opposition individuals in areas under their control, including parts of the Somali capital. The Islamist group, which is considered by the Somali government and the United States as a terrorist organization, declares a fight to establish an Islamic State in Somalia.

The Reuters report on this same incident adds a witness describing that “One of the boys did not die easily, so about eight masked al Shabaab men went close and opened fire on him. Soon his body looked like chopped-up meat because of the many gunshots.”

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Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Botched Executions,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Espionage,Execution,Heresy,Public Executions,Ripped from the Headlines,Shot,Somalia

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2009: One stoned and one shot by Islamic militants in Somalia

Add comment December 13th, 2017 Headsman

From Associated Press reports:

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Witnesses say Islamist militants have executed two men accused by the fighters of murder and adultery.

Witnesses in the town of Afgoye southwest of the capital say the Hizbul Islam militants on Sunday stoned to death the man accused of adultery and shot the man accused of murder. They say the militants summoned the town’s residents to watch the executions.

Islamic courts run by radical clerics have ordered executions, floggings and amputations in recent months. In some areas militants have also banned movies, musical telephone ringtones, dancing at weddings and playing or watching soccer.

Somalia has been ravaged by violence since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, then turned on each other.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Gruesome Methods,Murder,Public Executions,Sex,Shot,Somalia,Stoned,Wartime Executions

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2013: A day in the death penalty around the world

Add comment January 16th, 2015 Headsman

United States

The first U.S. execution of 2013 was that of Robert Gleason, Jr. in Virginia last January 16.

Gleason was serving a life sentence for another murder when he conned a fellow-prisoner into letting him tie his hands as part of a supposed escape attempt. Instead, Gleason choked the poor bastard to death with a urine-soaked sponge.

The killer said he did this precisely in order to be executed.

“I murdered that man cold-bloodedly,” he told a reporter in 2010. “I planned it and I’m gonna do it again. Someone needs to stop it. The only way to stop me is to put me on death row.”

He was as good as his word. That summer, he got a necklace around the throat of a prisoner in a neighboring solitary pen and horribly throttled him to death. Virginia obliged Gleason’s heart’s desire with a death sentence that the killer did not contest.

Unusually, Gleason chose to die in the state’s 104-year-old oak electric chair, rather than by lethal injection. Virginia at the time was one of 10 states still allowing an inmate to choose electrocution, but Gleason was the first person to do so since 2010.

His last words: “Well, I hope Percy ain’t going to wet the sponge. Put me on the highway to Jackson and call my Irish buddies. Pog mo thoin. God bless.” As was widely reported after the fact, Pog mo thoin is Gaelic for “kiss my ass.”

His last words — and everything else about him — are remembered here by a reporter who got to know Gleason during his three-year journey to the death chamber.


Somalia

Dennis Allex, an agent of French intelligence held captive for over three years by al-Shabaab militants, was allegedly summarily executed on January 16 following an unsuccessful French raid to free him.

Allex, whose name is thought to be a pseudonym, had been seized in Mogadishu in 2009 and forced during his captivity to broadcast his captors’ demands.

Following the French intervention in Mali last January — an event potentially raising the danger for French hostages throughout the Islamic world — a commando unit attempted to free Allex on January 12.

The French suspect that Allex might have been killed during that operation. His captors, however, claimed that Allex survived it, and that they thereafter “reached a unanimous decision to execute the French intelligence officer, Dennis Allex.

“With the rescue attempt, France has voluntarily signed Allex’s death warrant”


Iran

On this date in 2013, Iran hanged a man in public in the city of Sabzevar.

Also in Sabzevar on the same day, another man suffered a spectacular public lashing.

Still another prisoner was reportedly hanged privately in Mashhad on January 16 in Iran.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Electrocuted,Execution,Hanged,History,Hostages,Iran,Murder,No Formal Charge,Public Executions,Ripped from the Headlines,Somalia,Summary Executions,USA,Virginia

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1970: Ibrahim Husain Muhammad

Add comment May 6th, 2012 Headsman

This from a May 7, 1970 London Times channeling of a Reuters report:

Mogadishu, Somalia, May 6 — Almost 50,000 people watched as a Somali soldier was executed by a firing squad today — the first public execution in the republic — for the murder of a girl.

In a statement read out at the execution, Lieutenant Ali Abdul-Rahman, the Attorney General, said: “The aim of imposing capital punishment on any citizen is to teach real justice, without which there can be no discipline here.”

Private Ibrahim Husain Muhammad was sentenced to death by a military tribunal in July, 1968. His appeals to the military High Court and to the Somali Supreme Court were rejected.

Somali dictator Siad Barre had good cause to worry about “discipline here.”

Whether the regime of the onetime Italian carabineire “taught justice” is another matter altogether.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Murder,Shot,Soldiers,Somalia

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2011: Ahmed Ali Hussein, enemy cleric

1 comment January 30th, 2012 Headsman

On this date last year, the Islamist Somali al-Shabaab publicly shot a man named Ahmed Ali Hussein in Mogadishu.

The 44-year-old, reportedly an ecclesiastic member of the rival al-Ictisam sect, was allegedly induced to confess that he’d been working with American intelligence. He was chained up and riddled with hundreds of bullets while neighbors were made to watch.

“In the documents we have, Ahmed Ali Hussein has worked with United States’ Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) for 16 months,” an al-Shabaab spokesperson explained. Hussein was not permitted to defend himself.

So, extrajudicial killing of cleric on uncontested secret evidence of aiding the enemy. Put Somalia down for the cutting edge of jurisprudence.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Espionage,Execution,God,History,Power,Religious Figures,Ripped from the Headlines,Shot,Somalia,Wartime Executions

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1541: Cristóvão da Gama, Portuguese crusader in Ethiopia

Add comment August 29th, 2011 Headsman

On this date in 1541, Cristóvão da Gama — “the most chivalrous soldier of a chivalrous age” — was beheaded in Ethiopia.

This moment was the apex of Lisbon’s empire-building, most vividly symbolized by Cristovao’s famous dad, explorer Vasco de Gama. In the Age of Discovery, Caravels bore Portuguese colors from Brazil to Japan.

Alas, Portugal’s global maritime empire of coastal colonies and remote ports was immediately menaced by rival powers like the also at-its-apex Ottoman Empire.

Young Cristovao would be ground up in this conflict whose mixture of geopolitics and sectarianism overtly smacked of those old-time Crusades.

After a jaunt to India in the train of his older brother, appointed the Portuguese governor of India, Cristavao was sidetracked on a return voyage for an intervention on the Christian side in a raging local war. For Europeans who for generations had trafficked in the vague and fantastical rumors of mythical Abyssinian ruler “Prester John”, putting a thumb on the scale for Ethiopian Christians against the rampant Arabs must have been nigh irresistible.

Let’s listen in.

Joao III and his government, faced with mounting debts as the costs of military operations in the East steadily grew, were now forced to re-evaluate their global commitments … the new viceroy, Estevao da Gama, was ordered to destroy the Turkish fleet in Suez …

Estevao da Gama’s raid into the Red Sea became one of the best remembered episodes in the history of the Portuguese Estado da India. The fleet assembled at Massawa on the African shore and then proceeded to Suakin which was burnt and plundered. Part of the fleet then returned to Massawa while the rest sailed on to Suez where the Turkish ships proved to be securely based and inaccessible. On the shore of Sinai, as close to Jerusalem as the Portuguese were ever to come, Estevao da Gama enacted some of the rituals of crusading chivalary and made a number of knights before returning to Massawa. Meanwhile, Dom Joao de Castro, who accompanied the expedition, used the time to produce his famous guide to the Red Sea, the Roteiro do Mar Roxo, complete with the meticulous drawings of the ports and anchorages, a masterpiece of Portuguese Renaissance geography and science.


One of Joao de Castro’s drawings. (Source, a Portuguese pdf)

Meanwhile the Portuguese at Massawa had suffered extreme privations and a hundred of them had deserted, having been persuaded by [untrustworthy Potuguese-descended Ethiopian ambassador Joao] Bermudes of the richness and wealth of the interior. Their fate was to be captured and massacred by Ahmed Gran. Estevao da Gama now dispatched a force of four hundred soldiers under the command of his brother, Cristovao da Gama, into the interior to assist the Ethiopian king. Cristovao da Gama advanced from the coast with a force much the same size as that which Cortez had led into Mexico in 1519. He had with him horses, arquebuses and eight small cannon. His first objective was to link up with the fugitive Ethiopian king and his followers, but da Gama got separated from his supplies and was forced to fight a superior Somali force supported by Turkish mercenaries. The result was catastrophe. The small Portuguese army was badly mauled and da Gama himself fled wounded from the battlefield and was taken prisoner.

The capture of the viceroy’s brother, son of the great admiral, carried with it huge importance for the Turks. After being ritually humiliated (his beard being set on fire and his face buffeted with the shoes of his negro servant) Cristovao da Gama was beheaded.* For the Portuguese this was a disaster, the symbolic significance of which far transcended the military consequences of the defeat. However, the Christian church had long experience of turning catastrophe into triumph and, soon after the news of Cristovao da Gama’s death reached the outside world, rumours of miracles began to circulate.** Da Gama became one of the first martyrs of the new church overseas which in a hundred years of expansion had had all too few heroic deeds to celebrate.

After the death of their commander fewer than two hundred of the original army survived, but they were able to meet up with the Christian Ethiopian forces and, when the next campaigning season started in 1542, the combined army inflicted a heavy defeat on the Muslims, a defeat which took on a decisive complexion when it was realised that the leader of the jihad, Ahmed Gran, had been killed in the battle.

Da Gama’s expedition had been mounted from the resources of the official empire and had been commanded by one of the leading fidalgos of the Estado da India. However, few of da Gama’s soldiers returned to India Instead they settled in Ethiopia and married Ethiopian women, establishing a ‘Portuguese’ community that mirrored the ‘Portuguese’ communities in Aythia, Bengal, Kongo and elsewhere where soldiers had offered their military expertise to local rulers an had been content to settle and make their fortures far removed from the jurisdiction of the Portuguese Crown.

Although da Gama’s own end was unfortunate, his surviving force’s exploits on a side badly pressed could arguably be considered the decisive factor enabling Christianity to survive in Ethiopia’s highlands interior. Prester John would have been proud.

* “I write what I heard, it may well be that it was thus, for all that is barbarous and cruel about the Moorish king can be believed. The body, after death, was dismembered and sent to various places … because once when Granha was speaking with Dom Christovao, he asked him: ‘If you had me in your power, as I have you, what would you do to me?’ Dom Christovao, with great resolution and freedom replied, ‘If I had you in my power, I would have you killed, the head I would send to one place and the quarters I would distribute to other places’ (naming them, but I do not recall them). And Granha, they say that it was because he heard this, scattered the body to various places.”

** “Directly they cut off his head, God worked a great and manifest miracle through it, which was, that in the place where they slew him a fountain of running water gushed out, which had never been seen before: its water, through the goodness and power of God, gives sight to the blind, and cures those ill of other diseases. It appears that this miracle is like the one that God did in Rome for His Apostle St. Paul. The remains of the body of D. Christovao smell sweetly, giving forth so delightful an odour, that it seems rather of heaven than of earth.”

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Entry Filed under: 16th Century,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Ethiopia,Execution,God,History,Martyrs,No Formal Charge,Nobility,Occupation and Colonialism,Portugal,Power,Religious Figures,Soldiers,Somalia,Wartime Executions

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1978: Seventeen officers in Somalia

1 comment October 26th, 2010 Headsman

Seventeen army officers were shot this day on the outskirts of Mogadishu for attempting to overthrow Somali dictator Siad Barre.

“The executions were carried out by by a firing squad formed of soldiers of the armed forces and were witnessed by thousands of people from all areas of Mogadishu,” said Mogadishu radio.

The abortive April 9 coup attempt seems to have been precipitated by Somalia’s ill-fated intervention in neighboring Ethiopia’s Ogaden region, a bloody little Cold War sideshow that saw both the U.S. (from Ethiopia, to Somalia) and Soviet Union (from Somalia, to Ethiopia) switch sides. Some of the officers concerned feared that Siad would come a-purgin’ after the last Somali forces slunk home on March 15, 1978.

The condemned (per this source) were:

  • Col Mohamed Sheikh Osman “Cirro”
  • Maj Siad Mohamed Jama
  • Maj Ibrahim Mohamed Hersi
  • Maj Siad Jama Nur
  • Capt Mohamed Ahmed Yusuf Aganeh
  • Capt Abdisalan Elmi Warsame
  • Capt Bashir Abshir Isa
  • Capt Abdillahi Hasan Nur
  • Lt Abdi Osman Ugas
  • Lt Abdirahman Maalin Bashir
  • Lt Adan Warsame Abdillahi
  • Lt Abdillahi Mahamud Guled
  • Lt Mohamed Abdullahi Husein (Gorod)
  • Lt Abdulwahab Ahmed Hashim
  • Lt Abdulqadir Gelle Omar
  • Sgt Farah Mohamed Halwo
  • Director Abdulqafar Warsame Abdilleh

But they’re perhaps most memorable for a coup participant not among their number, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who fled to Kenya and founded from exile the Somali Salvation Democratic Front, eventually one of the principal entities resisting the Barre regime. Ahmed served as President of Somalia from 2004 to 2008, but his government was unable to gain control of the notoriously fractious state or to end Somalia’s ongoing civil war.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Mass Executions,Not Executed,Notable for their Victims,Public Executions,Shot,Soldiers,Somalia,Treason

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1972: Three Somali officers for an attempted coup

1 comment July 3rd, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 1972, Somali Generals Muhammad Ainanshe Gulaid and Salad Gaveir, along with Col. Abdulkadir bin Abdulla,* were publicly shot in Mogadishu by a 90-man** (!) firing detail for attempting a coup the previous year.

Forged from the decolonized territories formerly known as British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland, Somalia had weathered a rocky 1960s before Siad Barre seized control in a 1969 military coup.

Muhammad Ainanshe Guleid had been Barre’s second vice-president (the first was also arrested for another supposed plot, though not executed), so the alleged conspiracy would have been treason at the very highest level. It’s obscure at this point to what extent the arrests might be attributed to an actual intended coup as against internecine politics within the ruling Supreme Revolutionary Council, or even whether those categories were wholly distinct.

“They were charged,” according to An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1966 (it makes great bathroom reading) “with treason in a plot to assassinate the president … and other high officials and to return the socialist country to capitalism.”

The Soviet-backed Barre had plenty of problems over the next two decades, but actually managed to hold the tumultuous country until 1991. Then rebels finally deposed the dictatorship. Neither those rebels nor anyone else, however, was able to establish an effective central government — leaving Somalia to become the anarchy/libertarian paradise it’s famous as today.

(Juxtapose: the Barre regime’s attempts (pdf) at establishing a more conventional tourist profile.)

* Each of these names have several possible transliterations. Actually, later this same year, Barre would announce an official choice of Latin script for the heretofore unwritten Somali language; schoolchildren at this time had to learn English, Italian, Arabic, and Somali.

** The source for the 90-man firing squad figure is I.M. Lewis, “The Politics of the 1969 Somali Coup” in The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Oct., 1972). As the title indicates, our day’s principals are not the author’s chief concern, but he adds apropos of Barre’s doomed efforts to shift loyalties away from tribes and towards the state that the massive fusillade party “was anti-tribal in composition, and that the Government would see to the funeral arrangements — traditionally a lineage responsibility.”

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Politicians,Power,Public Executions,Shot,Soldiers,Somalia,Treason

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2009: A day in the death penalty around the world

Add comment January 15th, 2010 Headsman

Capiital punishment may be an ancient historical phenomenon, but it’s hardly ancient history.

The executions that several of the 21st century world’s more aggressive death penalty users coincidentally carried out a year ago today testify together to the enduring place (and variegated guises) of the headsman in modernity.

China

Three prisoners were reported killed in Jinan in China on Jan. 15, 2009.

Two were men who had been serving prison terms for separate crimes when they incurred a death sentence for a violent (though seemingly non-lethal) escape attempt.

Liu Junjie, 35, and Wang Bing, 31, broke out of the prison in Zibo City on December 8, 2007 as a truck was moving out of the prison gate, according to a statement from the Shandong Provincial High People’s Court.

They hit a prison worker and two policemen with iron bars and choppers as they forced their way out. They were later caught as they fled along a road.

Former cabbie Bo Lijun shared that fate for a series of thefts, rapes, and murders.

According to the court, Bo raped and suffocated a female barber on Oct. 23, 2002 in Dongying.

Bo attempted to rape a female passenger in a wooded area near Dongying on July 29, 2006. Although he abandoned the rape attempt, he clubbed her to death for fear she would inform the police, and he buried the body at the site.


Saudi Arabia

One Mushabeb Al-Ahmari was beheaded in the province of Asir for “killing a compatriot with a machine gun” (who he killed and why was not reported).

Al-Ahmari was a minor when he was sentenced. The statement said his execution was delayed until he came of age.


United States

62-year-old James Callahan suffered lethal injection in Alabama Jan. 15, 2009, after 26 years on death row for raping and murdering a Jacksonville State University student in 1982. Callahan

requested a last meal of two corn dogs, french fries and a Coke … spent the day visiting with family and spiritual supporters … receive[d] communion at 4:30 p.m.

Callahan’s will bequeaths to his son $36.42 from his prison account, a black and white Radio Shack TV, two watches, a Walkman, some headphones, a leather belt, two pairs of boots, one pair of Nike tennis shoes, food items and legal papers.


Updated: Somalia

(This incident was not brought to our attention until after the post was already up, but in the peripatetic spirit of the entry, we thought it suitable to append.)

Somali politician Abdirahman Ahmed (also known as Waldiire) was shot by an Islamist militia in the port of Kismayo on Jan. 15, 2009.

Perhaps the first pol executed by Islamists, Ahmed was once the spokesman for a faction in the Somali civil war. He was put to death for collaborating with the Ethiopians who invaded Somalia at U.S. behest. As the Ethiopians were Christian, this behavior qualified as “apostasy” to the militants’ sharia court.

In January 2009, Ethiopia was in the process of withdrawing its military presence in its war-torn neighbor.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Alabama,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,Children,China,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Lethal Injection,Murder,Public Executions,Rape,Ripped from the Headlines,Saudi Arabia,Shot,Somalia,USA,Wartime Executions

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