There’s been confusion about a report that an 18-year-old man in Somalia was stoned to death by members of the Al Qaeda-linked group Al Shabaab after he was found guilty of homosexuality.
Somali Gay Community posted a report and pictures on its Facebook page claiming that Mohamed Ali Baashi had confessed to a homosexual act and was sentenced to death by a judge in Barawe – about 50 miles from the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
On 15 March, he was reportedly blindfolded, buried in a hole up to his chest and then stoned to death as horrified villagers were forced to watch.
The gruesome pictures posted on the Facebook page, however, were found by LGBTQ Nation to be from other previously documented stonings, bringing the entire story into question.
Somali Gay Community later commented that it never intended to suggest that the pictures were of the actual execution of the young man but that they were meant to illustrate the brutality of stoning.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that an Al Shabaab official had confirmed that a stoning had indeed taken place as reported.
He claimed, however, that the man had been sentenced to death not only because of the homosexual act but because he had forced a 13-year-old boy to have sex with him.
Somali Gay Community said that it was unable to verify the claim about the accusations against the executed man.
The militant Al Shabaab group controls section of the southern part of Somalia where it has imposed a strict form of Sharia law, under which homosexually may be punished with the death penalty.