5/25/2024
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Former Somali Minister prevails in cyber violence case at The Hague court


Tuesday April 9, 2024

Hague (HOL) - Former Somali Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf, has won her case at the Palace of Justice in The Hague against a Somali Dutch citizen allegedly responsible for some of the cyber violence directed at her.

Deqa Yasin presented the criminal case in November 2022, and after months, the court delivered a verdict of guilt against the unnamed perpetrator.

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Again, she appeared to the court for the second time as the perpetrator sought to contest the prior ruling and requested an appeal against the verdict. But the court upheld its original judgment, ruling in favor of Deqa Yasin.

In an interview published by the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and State-building, Deqa Yasin stated that during her term in 2017, she persisted in advancing the Sexual Offences Bill (SOB), which had faced major opposition since 2013 despite significant efforts by previous ministers.

“After navigating through all the required procedural checks and balances, I ensured that the bill successfully passed all the legislative processes, including the Executive branch. However, when it reached the Federal Parliament of Somalia, it faced an unprecedented obstacle,” she said.

“A highly irregular unparliamentary procedure was used against the SOB. Unlike other bills, it became the first known draft law ever to be returned to the Cabinet by a Speaker without even being tabled for a first reading because it was argued that the bill was contrary to Islamic principles. In 2020, matters took a troubling turn when opposition to the bill escalated into a targeted personal assault against me, orchestrated by factions within the government, legislative body, and external entities. This was a meticulously choreographed manoeuvre aimed at besmirching my reputation and stature, not just within Somalia but also on the international stage,” she added.

Deqa Yasin underlined that she wondered why legislation aimed at protecting and empowering women consistently faced such strong opposition. “I found myself at the receiving end of a deliberate and highly personal onslaught, including severe abuse through social media. Given my lifelong commitment to fighting against injustice, I was not going to allow this to happen to me as I watched silently.”

She knew the road to seeking justice was difficult, but her unwavering commitment to pursuing justice was resolute. Yasin acknowledged the wholehearted support she received from her family and friends and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

Deqa Yasin urged women who faced gender-based cyber violence to be aware that there is a social support network available to them, ready to offer assistance even when they may feel lacking in personal strength and support.

The court’s decision demonstrated that online and offline violence and hate speech are impermissible, and perpetrators should and must be held accountable for their actions, irrespective of where they live.



 





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