They say the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine and for victims of state-orchestrated torture in Somaliland during the reigns of former president Siad Barre, that proverb seems to hold true.
A jury in US state of Virginia Tuesday found Col. Yusuf Abdi Ali (aka “Tukeh”) a high ranking commander in Siad Barre administration guilty for torture in Somaliland and awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in damages in addition to $100,000 in punitive damages.
According to Centre for Justice and Accountability which represented the plaintiff (Farhan Warfaa), he (Warfaa) was rounded up with other men from his village in 1987 and taken to the Military Headquarters of the Fifth Brigade of the Somali National Army, where Col. Tukeh held command.
“Mr. Warfaa testified that Col. Tukeh’s soldiers tortured and interrogated him, and that Col. Tukeh himself shot Mr. Warfaa multiple times at point-blank range, leaving him for dead. Miraculously, he survived. Over thirty years after that ordeal, Mr. Warfaa faced Col. Tukeh in a federal courtroom, and prevailed,” CJA said in a statement.
CJA and the law firm of DLA Piper LLP said the evidence presented at trial included eyewitness testimony from former officers of the Somali National Army and other survivors of Somali National Army abuses, and expert testimony from former U.S. Special Envoy to Somalia, Ambassador Robert Gosende and medical experts, Dr. Allen S. Keller and Professor Daryn Reicherter.
CJA has successfully prosecuted two other cases in the past involving Siad Barre top men. US courts have awarded damages against former defence minister and prime minister Mohammed Ali Samantar Colonel Abdi Aden Magan.