A military court in the Puntland region of northeastern Somalia has sentenced a group of seven youth to death after finding them guilty of being members of Al Shabaab. Additionally the court also accused the youth of being behind a string of political assassinations that have rocked the region in recent months.
Nuradin Ahmed Samatar (20 years old), Ali Ismail Ali (20 years old), Hassan Adan Hasan Mohamed (22 years old, Abdihakim Aweys (24 years old), Mohamed Mohamud (17 years old), Dawud Sacaid Sahal (18 years old), and Ayub Yasin Abdi (32 years old) were all sentenced in the port city of Bossaso, where they all denied the charges against them and proclaimed their innocence. Attorneys representing the men claimed that there was no evidence supporting the charges against their clients.
Puntland authorities claimed that the youths had admitted to the crimes to investigators and had testified against one another.
The youths are accused of being behind the killings of at least three Puntland officials, including the assistant police commissioner of Puntland, a director in the Puntland presidency, and an attorney working for the Puntland military.
The seven death-pnealty convicts have been given one month to appeal their sentence. In the past, similar sentences have been criticized by human rights groups for being hastily issued and based on filmy evidence.