Somaliland: After 25 Years Justice Catches up with Colonel Magan of the infamous NSS


CJA Client Abukar with the trial team in front of the courthouse

Dear Friends

Somalilandsun – The Centre for Justice & Accountability-CJA is pleased to report that after almost 25 years, its client Abukar Hassan Ahmed finally had his day in court.

Professor Ahmed was a constitutional law professor and human rights advocate who was arrested and tortured because he was an outspoken critic of the brutal Siad Barré Regime in Somalia.

A former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, Professor Ahmed has been seeking justice ever since. He tracked down his torturer, former Somalia Colonel Abdi Aden Magan, in Columbus, Ohio. Colonel Magan was the Chief of Somalia’s infamous National Security Service (NSS) Department of Investigations, a government agency created to suppress perceived political opposition to the Barré Regime. The NSS under Colonel Magan was widely known to inflict psychological terror and physical torture against political prisoners and civilians.

Speaking for the first time in open court about his detention and torture, Professor Ahmed explained that he brought this case “not only on behalf of myself, but on behalf of all the silent victims of torture, who do not have a voice.” He went on to explain that Somalia will be following the case and that, “Justice has no national borders, justice is universal and a human being will be held to account anywhere he is located.” Please click here to read the AP interview with Professor Ahmed.

In addition to Professor Ahmed’s testimony, expert testimony was presented to assess damages. As you may recall, last fall we prevailed against Colonel Magan in a summary judgment motion where he was found liable for torture, cruel treatment, and arbitrary detention.

We are particularly grateful to our co-counsel, Chadbourne & Park, LLP and Latham & Watkins, LLP and to our brave client, Professor Abukar Ahmed, who has had the courage to stand up for justice all his life. Today, Professor Ahmed is a legal advisor to the President of Somalia, and he is working to ensure that the new government’s laws comply with human rights.

For more on this historic case please click here, and for the press release please click here.

Warm regards,

Pamela Merchant

Executive Director

Justice & Accountability-CJA

PS: CJA relies on contributions from individuals like you to continue our work. Please consider making a donation today. To donate securely online, click here.