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Somalia Court Releases Alleged Rape Victim

Lul Ali Osman, who claimed she was raped by security forces, is seen holding her child at the court house in Mogadishu March 3, 2013.
A Somali court has dropped charges against a woman who says she was raped by government security forces.

Lul Ali Osman was sentenced in February to one year in prison, after a judge said she was unable to show any evidence proving she had been raped. A reporter who allegedly interviewed her about case, Abdiaziz Abdinur, was also sentenced to a year in prison for not following journalistic ethics.

On Sunday, a Mogadishu appeals court judge ordered Osman's release, saying there was not enough evidence to substantiate the charge. The court reduced Abdinur's sentence to six months.

Both were accused of fabricating the story in an attempt to make money, and were charged with insulting the country's honor.

The case sparked an international outcry from groups such as Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists, who said the case was politically motivated.

The Associated Press reports Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon has welcomed Sunday's decision, saying it was "a step closer to justice being done." Shirdon said he hoped for a different outcome in the case of the reporter, saying journalists should not be sent to prison for doing their job.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.