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Published On: Thu, Oct 1st, 2015

Somaliland:British-educated President urged to save Mentally-ill man from Death row

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Faisa Ali is petitioning on behalf of her brother Abdullah (right) Photo: Trinity Mirror

Faisa Ali is petitioning on behalf of her brother Abdullah (right) Photo: Trinity Mirror

Faisa Ali, from west London, says court ignored evidence of her brother’s long history of psychosis

By Colin Freeman

The sister of a mentally-ill man who faces execution by firing squad in Somaliland has pleaded with the country’s British-educated leader to issue him a presidential pardon.

Faisa Ali’s brother Abdullah, who has a history of psychosis, has been sentenced to death by the country’s supreme court for shooting dead of his friends during an argument.

With appeals through the legal system now exhausted, his sister, who lives in west London, is now appealing for an intervention by Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud, the country’s president.

Mr Mohamoud spent part of his early life in Britain and has a degree from Manchester University.

She has also appealed help from Grant Shapps, the current Minister of State at Britain’s Department for International Development, who visited Somaliland this summer, and whose department is bankrolling a £20 million national development fund for Somaliland.

“The court have made their final decision, so my only chance now is to appeal to the president, who I know has a long history with Britain and a good relationship with the British government,” Ms Ali, 27, told The Telegraph on Thursday. “I am asking him to act to show mercy before it is too late.”

ssMs Ali holding a picture of her brother  Photo: Trintiy Mirror

Mr Ali’s family say that the court ignored medical evidence that he had a long history of mental illness, including two years spent in a psychiatric hospital in the Somaliland capital, Hargiesa. He was discharged last year, only for his problems to get worse, leading to an argument with an old friend that led to a weapon being grabbed and his friend being shot dead. Guns are often held in civilian hands in Somaliland.

After being kept in prison for a year, Mr Ali was sentenced to death by firing squad last month.

Ms Ali, a dental nurse, added that the family of the victim had turned down an offer of blood money that could have led her brother being spared his life.

“I feel very sorry for them and I sympathise with their loss,” she said. “But my brother is mentally ill and does not deserve to die, and the court should recognise that. To be honest, if it was any other way, and he had simply killed this man in a normal fight, I would not be going to these lengths on his behalf.”

ddMr Ali was sentenced in September  Photo: Trintiy Mirror

The family’s case has been backed by the pressure group Human Rights Watch, while the European Union has raised concerns about the wider use of the death penalty in Somaliland, which executed six prisoners by firing squad last April after nine years in which no executions were carried out. The EU described it as “a step back in the progress made in spreading the rule of law in Somaliland”.

Somaliland is a semi-independent region in the north-west of Somalia, which has enjoyed relative peace and stability in the last 20 years compared to the rest of the country. It seeks to become fully independent.

Mr Ali’s sister added that irrespective of the outcome of her brother’s case, she planned to start a campaign to advocate for mentally ill people in Somaliland. “There is nobody there to look out for their interests,” she said.

Source: The Telegraph

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