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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Update in Yousuf v. Samantar: Court Orders Questioning of Former Somali Defense Minister for Abuses

July 1st, 2011
Somaliland Human Rights Victim
On July 1, 2011, Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson ruled that Samantar must sit for a deposition and face three days of questioning from the plaintiffs.  General Samantar had asked the Court to postpone indefinitely the deposition, claiming that because of his alleged ill health, he should not be forced to answer questions about the human rights abuses that he ordered in Somaliland in the 1980s.  

The Court rejected his claim, however, ruling that unless he comes forward with specific evidence that requires cancellation of the deposition, then he will be forced to answer Plaintiffs' questions, beginning on July 19, 2011.

The court also authorized the plaintiffs to take depositions of third-party witnesses in Ethiopia.  Samantar had argued that Ethiopia would be a hostile location for the witnesses.  But the Court disagreed, concluding that Ethiopia is a viable locale. 

CJA and pro-bono co-counsel Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld anticipate taking witness depositions in Ethiopia in August.

These rulings mean that the case against General Samantar is on track to go to trial before the end of the year.

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