Somalia: insurgent sharia court sentences youth to amputation

A sharia court run by Somalia’s Shabab insurgents in Mogadishu sentenced four teenagers to each have a hand and a leg amputated as punishment for robbery June 22. A sharia judge in an insurgent-controlled area of the capital said the defendants had “robbed mobile phones and people’s belongings.” The Shabab have instated a strict interpretation of Islamic law in territory they control, and have carried out stonings, floggings and amputations before. Amnesty International condemned the sentence, saying the defendants had no lawyer and had not been allowed to appeal. (Reuters, June 22)

As of today, the punishment has not been carried out. A Shabab spokesman told the Associated Press the sentence was postponed because of fears the men could bleed to death in the hot weather. (VOA, June 23) Last month in Kismayo, in Somalia’s south, ruling Islamists invited a crowd to the town’s public park to see a man suspected of stealing $90 worth of clothing get his hand cut off. (BBC News, May 20)

So if these Shabab are so intransigent in their rejection of modernity that they use amputation as a form of punishment, why are they amputating people for stealing cellphones rather than for using them? What a bunch of posers (as we recently had reason to say of Afghanistan’s Taliban). It is telling that the legitimate global rebellion against the technosphere engages in no such neo-medievalisms.

See our last posts on Somalia and the struggle within Islam.

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