ClientsDoe v. Ali (Col. Tukeh)
Jane Doe is a native and resident of northwestern Somalia or Somaliland, and she is Isaaq. In 1984, Plaintiff Jane Doe allowed a distant relation, a man unknown to her, to sleep in her yard. Later that night, the man fled when soldiers under Col. Tukeh’s command ransacked Jane Doe’s home, arresting and beating her and her husband and arresting several of their neighbors. After Jane Doe and the others were imprisoned in wooden cages designed for animals, Col. Tukeh’s soldiers burned down her house and slaughtered her livestock.
In the days that followed, Jane Doe was subjected to daily interrogations, during which the soldiers would beat her and threaten to execute her and her husband if she did not “tell the truth.” They asked her questions about the man who came that night, as well as questions about things she did not know anything about. Jane Doe could answer very little about the man because all she knew was that he was just a distant relation and a guest. As a result of the beatings, Jane Doe suffered a broken hip.
After several days, Jane Doe was brought to a “trial” of sorts. Several soldiers were seated around tables under a tree to serve as judges at the trial. The same soldiers that had arrested Jane Doe served as witnesses to accuse her, and their commander, Col. Tukeh, also accused her. Although she was initially given a death sentence, her sentence was reduced to imprisonment because she was pregnant. The others who had been sentenced to death were killed immediately after the trial and buried nearby in an unmarked mass grave. Local townspeople, including school children, were required to attend the trial and execution.
After the trial, Jane Doe was taken to prison in Hargeisa, where she soon suffered a miscarriage. She remained in Hargeisa central prison under horrific conditions for more than six years.
Because of concern for her safety, Jane Doe has elected to proceed with this case anonymously.
John Doe is a native and resident of northwestern Somalia or Somaliland. Early one morning in December 1987, soldiers under Col. Tukeh’s command arrested John Doe and several other men. John Doe and the other men were arrested apparently because Col. Tukeh believed a member of John Doe’s sub-clan, part of the Isaaq, had helped members of the SNM steal a water tanker truck. Some of the prisoners were released because they were not members of the suspected Isaaq sub-clan.
A pattern of interrogation and torture began with respect to John Doe and his remaining co-prisoners. In small groups, John Doe and the other prisoners were taken from their cell to a roofed building with open sides within the army compound. The soldiers then tightly tied their hands and feet together behind their backs so that their bodies were arched backward in a slightly-tilted “U” shape, with their arms and legs high in the air. This form of torture was called the “Mig,” because it placed the prisoner’s body in a shape that resembled the Somali Air Force’s Mig aircraft. The position causes excruciating pain in the victim. While in the Mig position, John Doe was beaten and questioned about the theft of the water tanker truck.
Several times, after being beaten, the soldiers took John Doe directly to Col. Tukeh’s office. There, his right wrist was tied to his right ankle. Col. Tukeh then interrogated John Doe about the SNM fighters he said had stolen the water tanker truck. Col. Tukeh threatened to kill John Doe if he did not give him the information he wanted. John Doe was tortured in this manner between six and nine times during the approximately three months he was detained at the Fifth Brigade Army headquarters in Gebiley. On more than one occasion, John Doe saw Col. Tukeh walk out of his office and observe him being tortured.
One evening in late February or early March 1988, after John Doe had been tortured and was being interrogated by Col. Tukeh, the SNM attacked. After the fighting stopped, Col. Tukeh attacked John Doe, kicking him in the chest. Just as John Doe fell over backward, Col. Tukeh took out his pistol and fired five shots at close range directly at him. Miraculously, he survived. Because John Doe was falling over, the bullets hit his wrist and right leg instead of killing him. Col. Tukeh then ordered his soldiers to bury John Doe, apparently thinking he was dead.
Col. Tukeh’s soldiers removed John Doe from Col. Tukeh’s office, but they realized he was alive. The soldiers secretly agreed to accept a payment from John Doe’s family in exchange for his release.
Because of concern for his safety, John Doe has elected to proceed with this case anonymously.