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Imprisoned Without Trial
Somalia Report Interviews Former al-Shabaab Detainee
By ABDIQANI DEEQ 03/10/2012
Al-Shabaab fighters
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Al-Shabaab fighters

Abdullahi Kadiye was released after spending one year in al-Shabaab custody in Afgoye without trial. During this time, he was subjected to harsh treatment, including beatings. Kadiye, who is now living in the Dagahaley refugee camp in northern Kenya, narrated his experience to Somalia Report.

Can you tell us briefly tell us about yourself?

My name is Abdullahi Kadiye. I am 29 years old and my occupation was being a driver—I used to drive commercial trucks before I was arrested. I have one wife and two children, and they are currently in Afgoye with my mother.

When and how were you arrested?

I was arrested exactly one year ago as I was driving one of my typical routes between Mogadishu and Baidoa. I just thought I was going to be cross-examined and released, but things turned tragic and the unexpected happened.

Why were you arrested?

Although I had not been brought before a court of law. I was accused of being a drug dealer and trafficker, as well as "causing havoc among the youth." Therefore they decided that I would remain in custody until my case was cleared up.

What happened after your arrest, and how did your relatives come to know about it?

I was first put in custody in Baidoa before I was transferred to Afgoye. I spent three months in a cell at Baidoa. Life was not easy inside there. My relatives came to know my fate through my assistant, who was present during my arrest, and they managed to secure my release after a long struggle.

What forms of mistreatment were you subjected to?

In fact, punishment was the order of the day. I was beaten thoroughly in the morning and evening along with other prisoners. This punishment normally took place when we were head-counted. There the youths will punish you for the most simple things, besides which the food we were given was very meagre and of low quality. But I managed to persevere.

How were you released?

My relatives, including my father, pleaded for mercy from a senior al-Shabaab official who he knew well, and explained my condition to him and he agreed to help me.

Why did you come to Dagahaley?

After my release, I realized that my life was at risk, and my father warned me that these people can seize me once more at any time, so I arranged my affairs and came here, which I knew was secure and peaceful.

How is life in Dagahaley compare to that of Somalia?

In fact, life in Somalia was easy before the Islamists emerged, and when they came things became worse. So life in Dagahaley is quite wonderful to a person like me, who had suffered in Somalia.