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Somalia: Court Cuts Off a Man’s Hand for Stealing

(May 14, 2009) It was reported on May 9, 2009, that a court in the port city of Kismayu, Somalia's third largest city after Mogadishu and Hargeisa, sentenced a man to have his right hand cut off after convicting him of theft. The defendant was accused of stealing clothes, bags, and furniture from a house in the city. The sentence was carried out in the center of the town, in the presence of hundreds of people that came out to watch. This is the second time the court has ordered that a convict's hand be cut off. (Islamists Say They Cut off Thief's Hand, SHABELLE MEDIA NETWORK, May 9, 2009, available at

Kismayu is under the control of the Al-Shabab Mujahideen Movement and one of its key allies, the Raaskambooni Camp Mujahideen, who have imposed Islamic law to govern the city. While the port city was at one time said to be one of the most dangerous places in southern Somalia, it has started to enjoy relative stability since these groups have controlled it. According to Abu Ayman, the leader of the Raaskambooni Camp Mujahideen, this group wants to make an example out of Kismayu. Ayman stated that, “We want to use Kismayu as an example and a model of our rule to the rest of Somalia.” (Somali Group Seeks Sharia Expansion, ALJEZIRA.NET, Dec. 22, 2008, available at