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On the extradition of Abdikarim Muuse to Ethiopia
By Liban Ahmad
Friday September 8, 2017

The rendition  of Abdikarim Muuse to the Ethiopian government has touched a raw nerve among many Somalis. Before discussing  whether the rendition is morally or legally justifiable  we have to remind ourselves of two principles at the heart of the extradition story
: 1- the right of the Somali citizen  to live in his country without fear of extradition 2- the government's right to protect its citizens against actions of forces operating beyond the law. These  two principles are not mutually exclusive. The citizen's right is inseparable from his/her obligation to adhere to the law of the land.

The only available evidence against Abdikarim Muuse is that he was a member of ONLF. There is no evidence  that, while in Somalia, he was involved  in activities against Ethiopia. ONLF statement on the extradition leaves little room for doubt about Abdikarim's political commitment to wage a war against Ethiopia. Should the Somali government honour its obligation towards its neighbour if it receives a request for the extradtion of a suspect? 

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The Federal Government of Somalia is  bound by its commitments and obligations domestically and internationally. No Somali government can harbour forces against a nation state whose army is fighting alongside the Somali forces against Al-shabaab. The Ethiopian government pardoned many ONLF fighters who renounced violence  to take part in nation-building.

If you believe that any  Somali federal member state has the responsibility to prevent any part of territories under its control  from becoming a  base for rebels at war with a neighbouring country, there is no reason to deny the Federal Government of Somalia  the right to have a similar responsibility.

The federal government cited an agreement signed by its predecessor although the signatories - Abdikarim Guled and Mahad Salad - view it as an agreement between a clan and Ethiopia. Was Mahad Salad in Jigjiga as a clan representative or as a representative of the federal government? People with a political agenda are using the extradition case as an opportunity to organise a parliamentary motion against the Prime Minister. ONLF has never had bases in Somalia. We have to assume its former members in Somalia do not pose threat to Ethiopia. Such an assumption is impossible to make if ONLF speaks on behalf of Abdikarim Sheikh Muuse or if some people argue for federal government support for ONLF's cause.
Liban Ahmad

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