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Young men who filmed fake kidnapping-for-ransom video spared jail sentence

Hassan Istiila
Friday January 27, 2023


Mogadishu (HOL) - Four young men appeared at the Somali military court in Mogadishu on Thursday following a hoax video that demanded ransom money from one of the young men's mother.

A Somali-Swedish, Zakaria Mohamud Warsame, who was brought to Mogadishu for cultural rehabilitation, persuaded the young men to make the short video. After they agreed, they filmed a short hoax video in which Zakaria was kidnapped and tortured by gunmen. The armed men demanded money from his mother in exchange for Warsame's safe return.

Zakaria told the court that he needed money from his mother to purchase a plane ticket back to Sweden.

"I was born and raised in a foreign country. My parents sent me to Somalia for rehabilitation. They were the ones who taught me the religion. "The video was just a prank," Zakaria explained in court.

One of the young men who appeared in court stated that Zakaraia demanded that they film with him, but he never expected to be charged with a crime in court.

"I had always seen Colonel Hassan Ali Nur Shute punishing and sentencing Al-Shabaab, but I did not believe that I, as a citizen, was committing a crime and being brought before Shute," said Nur Hayle Osman, one of the young men who carried out the hoax video.

The soldier who had the weapons used by the young men in the video was also brought before the military court. The soldier said he was acquainted with one of the young men in the video. The two were neighbours, but he claimed he did not know that the video would feature his military uniform and weapons.

Colonel Hassan Ali Nur Shute, the chairman of the Somali military court, announced that all men in the video would be spared prison but should be sent to rehabilitation. At the same time, the soldier was jailed for neglecting national property.

It is the first case of its kind to be brought to court, as it is known that recently, young people who use social media have made pranks that are sometimes dangerous to social behaviour.


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