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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 10:54 GMT
Somali 'lesbian sentences' denied
Location of Puntland
Police in Puntland have denied a story widely reported in Somalia that two women were sentenced to death for being lesbians.

According to Mogadishu newspapers, the women were reported to have been found guilty of "exercising unnatural behaviour" by having a lesbian relationship.

But police in Boosaaso, where the sentence was reported to have been passed, say the case never came before the courts.

The Qaran newspaper in Mogadishu has now printed an apology to their readers.

It had been reported that hundreds had packed the court in the northern coastal town.

But no official confirmation was ever received from the Puntland authorities.

Puntland declared itself autonomous from Somalia in August 1998 and has since set up its own administrative infrastructure.

Somalia's first government in nearly a decade was appointed last year, but the authorities in Puntland are opposed to it.

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See also:

10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Somalia
05 Feb 01 | Africa
Timeline: Somalia
29 Nov 00 | Africa
Governing Somalia from a hotel
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