Two Canadians are home after spending two months in a prison in Somaliland, where they say they were subjected to extreme abuse that they described as “bordering on torture.”
Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watt, 24, arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday after being released in April.
They were arrested in January for drinking alcohol and, according to their lawyer, signed confessions under duress in an effort to avoid being detained.
Reading from a prepared statement at the airport, Abdi said the pair went to Somaliland because they felt an obligation to help women facing violence.
“Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us. Where it is safe to be a woman? In reality, it is women on the ground, who look like us, who are sacrificing everything.”
Jason Jeremias, a New York-based human rights activist, said Abdi was working to intervene in the protection of extreme risk of gender-based violence, but they did not go as official representatives of a non-government organization.
Abdi said she and Watts were subjected to extreme emotional and psychological abuse as well as “physical retaliation” in prison.
She also said they were denied medical aid, legal counsel and, at times, food and water.
With files from CBC, CP