Two Canadian citizens are being detained in Somalia, Global Affairs confirms.
“Consular officials in Nairobi are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information,” a Global Affairs spokesperson told CTVNews.ca.
“Consular services are being provided to the individuals,” the spokesperson added. The spokesperson would not say more, citing the Privacy Act.
Jason Jeremias of the New York-based arts collective The Price of Silence said in a press release that the Canadians were detained in the Koodbuur Station Women’s Prison in Hargeisa three months ago. Hargeisa is in the disputed region of Somaliland.
“The two Canadian women were attempting to use their own experiences of gender-based violence to intercede on behalf of a woman targeted with similar gender-based persecution, including torture and forced disappearance,” Jeremias said.
The Canadian women were taken into custody along with a third woman who is a U.K. national, according to Jeremias.
“Days into their detention, at the onset of an arbitrary investigation, the women were coerced into signing confessions propounding that they had consumed alcohol, prohibited by law in Somalia/Somaliland,” he said.
“The confession was coerced in promise of being promptly released upon approbation,” Jeremias went on. “The women quickly acquiesced as they had already been remanded for days and were overwrought by the prospect of being further detained.”
Jeremias says one of the Canadians was ill with pneumonia but has since recovered.
“Price of Silence considers the women Gender Prisoner's of Conscience and is calling on the Canadian government to more vigorously intermediate for the women's release into protective custody and safe return to Canada,” he said.