Father of Somali Convicted of Murder Speaks Out Against Verdict

Published November 25th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The father of a Somali man convicted of killing two Italian journalists in Somalia in 1994 said Saturday that the conviction was a miscarriage of justice. 

"He is not a criminal and Allah will, therefore, be on his side," Omar Hassan Fodbal told AFP on hearing that an Italian appeals court Friday overturned an earlier acquittal of his son Omar Hashi Hassan, 26. 

Hassan was sentenced to life in prison for the machine-gun murder of journalist Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman Milan Hrovatin in north Mogadishu on March 20, 1994. 

A lower court had earlier acquitted Hassan. 

"The courts proved earlier his innocence," Fodbal said, adding: "The prosecutor is a big liar. He knows Hassan is not guilty." 

Hassan's clan elder Ali Hassan Jima'ale, also speaking to AFP on Saturday, said of the trial: "It was a crazy theatre aimed at pleasing the families of Alpi in order to finally close the file. They better look for the true killers of the two journalists." 

He urged his clansmen not to take any violent action to retaliate for the "Mafia justice" in Rome. 

"We urge the current government of Somalia to take all necessary action for the release and return home of our boy," Jima'ale said. 

Hassan, with other Somalis, arrived in Italy in 1998 to claim damages for alleged ill-treatment by Italian troops during the 1993 UN-led military and humanitarian operation "Restore Hope", which sought to end inter-clan violence in the Horn of Africa nation following the collapse of the central government in 1991. 

Hassan was, however, arrested and charged by Italian authorities after he was implicated as one of the members of a Somali commando that killed the two Italian journalists -- MOGADISHU (AFP)  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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