A judge working for the militant group al-Shabab said she had had an affair with an unmarried 29-year-old man.
He said she gave birth to a still-born baby and was found guilty of adultery. Her boyfriend was given 100 lashes.
It is thought to be the second time a woman has been stoned to death for adultery by al-Shabab.
The group controls large swathes of southern Somalia where they have imposed a strict interpretation of Islamic law which has been unpopular with many Somalis.
According to reports from a small village near the town of Wajid, 250 miles (400km) north-west of the capital, Mogadishu, the woman was taken to the public grounds where she was buried up to her waist.
She was then stoned to death in front of the crowds on Tuesday afternoon.
The judge, Sheikh Ibrahim Abdirahman, said her unmarried boyfriend was given 100 lashes at the same venue.
Under al-Shabab's interpretation of Sharia law, anyone who has ever been married - even a divorcee - who has an affair is liable to be found guilty of adultery, punishable by stoning to death.
An unmarried person who has sex before marriage is liable to be given 100 lashes.
BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says the stoning is at least the fourth for adultery in Somalia over the last year.
Earlier this month, a man was stoned to death for adultery in the port town of Merka, south of Mogadishu.
His pregnant girlfriend was spared, until she gives birth.
Last month, two men were stoned to death in Merka after being accused of spying.
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, was sworn in as president after UN-brokered peace talks in January.
Although he says he also wants to implement Sharia, al-Shabab says his version of Islamic law would be too lenient.
The country has not had a functioning national government for 18 years.
Last night was difficult.
I’ve spent the last two years learning about “the game” and spending time getting to know the women who are trapped in it. But sometimes when I’m on the streets and in conversation with these women it is easy to forget just how manipulated they are, how trapped they are, and how hungry they are for a new and different life. These women are good at playing the game – they talk the talk, walk the walk, and display every assurance of confidence.
But every so often you are reminded of the reality of this dark world.
Last night we saw some pimps “sweating” some girls. This is when a pimp other than the prostitute’s corners her, harasses and sweet-talks her to come work for him. They were hard at work trying to catch girls “out of pocket.” Out of pocket is when a girl talks to or gestures to another pimp without her pimp’s permission. A prostitute is not allowed to speak, look at or make any gestures to any other pimp. If she does he can say she “chose” him and try to take all her money…among other things. These girls did well and eventually got away from the harassment of this other pimp, but it was a really hard things to watch – and even harder to hear some of the things that are being said to these women.
There is a woman A* that we met a few weeks ago and had hopes of meeting up with once we got to the track. After a few texts and phone calls unanswered we figured her phone had been deactivated or something. Today Laurie got a text from her saying she had been in a car accident and broken her wrist – that’s why she was not out on the track. Incidentally this gave her time to read the brochure we gave her that had Laurie’s testimony on it (if you’ve never read about Laurie’s story…go here or watch this). She has been chatting with Laurie all day about her testimony, her family and her involvement in the game. We keep praying that the Lord will gently speak to her through our presence, Laurie’s testimony and other individuals He brings into her life.
We didn’t get to talk to very many girls last night because the cops came out and they all went into hiding. We did get to meet a sweet man M.A. that lived on the streets and then we saw L* - she actually didn’t recognize us because she was so drunk. I can only imagine the coping mechanisms one goes through living on the streets or turning tricks. But it doesn’t break my heart any less to see them turning to drugs and alcohol when I feel like there is very little I can physically offer them to ease their pain.
The most interesting thing to me throughout the night was our conversation with M.A. When we were done praying for him he wanted to pray for us. He prayed that in all things God would get the glory because he deserves it all. I love that no matter where life takes us, no matter how far we fall – the Word of the Lord never comes back null and void. Those things that we learned at a young age remain with us and come back in times we need to be reminded of the truth.
One girl, P*, could not have been older than 17 - just BEAUTIFUL, got picked up by a john right after chatting with us.
My heart breaks every time I see a girl get into a car and drive away.
Sometimes the change is so slow it hurts.
...until the last lock breaks
Hello from the streets! It has been a while. I’ve been out quite a few times since March when I last wrote, but the discipline of sitting down and documenting is something I often lack. So here I am again.
Last night turned out to be an evening of mixed emotions. While a majority of it was filled with celebration, laughter and fellowship; walking the streets of L.A. we were equally confronted with hopelessness, anxiety and fear as we looked into some of the eyes of the women we met.
Before leaving to go on outreach Laurie, Daryl, Jen U, Johnny and myself went to Sizzler together to celebrate a couple birthdays. It was a great time to catch up, relax and enjoy each other’s company. When we were finished we went back to Daryl and Laurie’s apartment to build some gift bags. We made several for the women
And then a few for the girls we meet who have children.
Jen C drop and we headed off to 7/11 where we saw our beloved “doorman,” a man that stands outside all evening opening the door for each customer that comes in and out. We were able to chat with him a little bit and grab a picture of him and Johnny. It is always a great start to the evening seeing his smiling face.
We got to the track around 10:30p and took a drive up and down to scope out the situation. There were a few girls that we saw pretty immediately so after one swipe through we pulled over and began walking.
There were several women we were able to give gift bags to. They were all very kind, but seemed eager to continue walking and move on down the street. We met F*, and two other women that were talking on the phone. The phone…typical.
We have only been coming to this track for a couple of months now. The track we were at before this one was the same way in the beginning. I almost feel as though there is a testing period where the girls try to feel out who exactly we are. Perhaps their pimps don’t like it if they talk to us and we know they keep a very close watch. But I can’t help but feel that our persistence will pay off. Just as in the last place – it was as if they eventually said “these people really aren’t going to go away, I should probably just hear what they have to say, be polite, say hello, and get some free stuff!” Continue praying for the softening of hearts so that we can engage in deeper conversation with these women.
I spotted M* from across the street. She was rather stunned when we approached her to talk. She seems very fearful and apprehensive that we would want to engage in conversation or give her a gift. Laurie asked her if we could pray about anything for her, she said that she was in the midst of moving and we could pray for that but not WITH her only once we left. So we prayed for her as we were walking away. I can still see her eyes. I pray God brings people into her life that can help her get the resources she needs. People she can trust so she does not have to be so fearful and anxious.
A couple beats down the street we saw K*, such sadness, desperation and hopelessness in her eyes. We gave her a bag that she was glad to receive. She said she was just sitting on the street corner because she was so TIRED. Laurie asked her if she was okay, with a nod of the head she mumbled “I’ll be fine” and as tears welled up in her eyes she shrugged her shoulders. Laurie asked if she could use prayer and she said no, but thanked us for the bag. I think of the whole evening K* is the one that still sticks with me. The look in her eyes cried out with such hopelessness, but I felt lost with how to help, console or empathize with her.
We were then able to run into M* who we have seen out on the track a few times. We were able to talk to her about how she was doing as well as another girl she is friends with that we have seen out several times. M* is so sweet with such a contagious personality and has such a call on her life. I pray God continues to work in and through her circumstances to bring her out and use her in powerful ways.
We then decided to make a stop at the shell station to hit the bathrooms, but it turned out to be where all the local cops were currently grabbing a Gatorade. Laurie grabbed several of our brochures and went over to introduce herself so they would know who we were and why we were out on their streets. Her and Officer Buckeye talked for 30-40 minutes about our ministry.
He took some extra brochures to hand out to the girls that they pull over and also gave us information about a couple other tracks that we did not know about.
All in all a great evening, great to be back out on the track, but hard to be reminded of the brokenness that at times we feel so helpless to ease.
Why not join with the sincere adherents of all religions in seeking the fullness of the truth to which they all aspire?How would YOU respond to such questions?
Why not join with all people of goodwill in tackling the real human problems of hunger, oppression, sickness, and alienation, instead of seeking more adherents for your religious group?
Life Pacific College
2:00p - 8:00p
Check out all the information HERE.
Kevin Bales and Melisa Farley will be the two keynote speakers. I have heard both of them before and I can promise you that you will NOT be disappointed. They have done extensive research and are fascinating people to listen to.
I am totally psyched cause I know it is going to be a great day. If you're going to be there - let me know!
This last week though we went out on the streets of Hollywood again!! It felt so good to be back out there. We met up at 2:30am - the only people who were out at that time were street people, a few druggies and all the club goers on their way home. It was Laurie, a new guy named Andy and myself. We stopped at 7/11 to get coffee (obviously...although they did NOT have my blueberry!) and prayed in the car. Then we drove up and down the track for a while to scope things out and observe to see when the girls would start coming out. Once we saw a few we parked the car to get out and walk the strip.
A little after parking the car, a young lady came walking by. Laurie got out of the car with a gift bag and introduced myself. She asked her if she could give her a gift bag and she said "for what?" Laueir told her "because you are special" and she said, "who's this from?" and Laurie replied, "Jesus." The girl looked more than a little confused. She was also very wary of her surroundings checking over her shoulder looking all over the place so Laurie just told her that we didn't want her to get in trouble and to be careful out there.
In just a matter of minutes after that girls started coming out from the darkness. First we ran into two, then another two - then another five! We were only able to talk to two out of the five but were able to give both of them bags and a quick hello. There were probably at least 10-15 girls out - if not more. The last two girls we spoke with declined prayer but one ("BD") said laughingly, "Please pray that I make a million dollars so I don't have to do this no more..." The other one "C" said we had met before. For the life of me I don't remember - and I think I'd remember those EYES. But I'll remember from now on. So young, so beautiful.
Then a car pulled up and another girl got out, warning the other girls, "Five O! (Police) Five O down the street!" and the girls all scattered like cockroaches when a light turns on.
When we started walking back to the car we saw one black and white squad car and then an undercover officer talking in a parking lot. We knew that the night was over, at least for us. It is nice to be able to do ministry in Hollywood now rather than driving to Compton. Things are ever changing in this game and in this city...but the need for the commodity never changes. We will continue to build relationships with these girls - they were all unfamiliar "new" faces. Young faces.
I don't know if any of you read up on this story when it came out in April - but here is the wrap up of the case. I have heard few things that have made me cringe more. But this verdict and the way this case closed just broke my heart.
Josef Fritzl, the Austrian accused of imprisoning his daughter and fathering seven children with her, has changed his pleas to guilty on all charges.
Fritzl said video testimony from his daughter, played in court on Tuesday, made him change his mind.
Josef Fritzl locked up his daughter for 24 years. The charges include rape, incest, murder and enslavement.
A court doctor has recommended that the 73-year-old be sent to a psychiatric facility for treatment.
At the start of his trial on Monday, Fritzl denied the charges of enslavement and murdering one of the children soon after its birth.
His surprise turnabout also altered his plea from "partial" to guilty on the charge of rape.
Fritzl's lawyer said watching his daughter's testimony had profoundly affected him, "destroying" his emotions.
Proceedings have ended for the day. A verdict and sentencing is expected on Thursday.
Wearing a grey suit and a blue shirt, Fritzl did not hide his face on Wednesday, as he had done for the past two days, when he was led into the courtroom in St Poelten, west of Vienna.
As proceedings began, the judge asked Fritzl how he felt after watching the videotaped testimony of his daughter.
"Your daughter told you the baby was suffering from breathing problems," the judge said. "You had time to get first aid."
Fritzl said: "I was hoping the little one would survive but I should have done something. I don't know why I didn't help. I just lost sight [of the issue]."
He then said he was "sorry".
Speaking later outside court, Fritzl's lawyer Rudolf Mayer said his daughter's testimony had allowed him to see for the first time the impact of his actions.
Describing his client, Mr Mayer said Fritzl was "a person who had only one idea - 'I must always be full of power'".
Mr Mayer said he was "very, very surprised" by Fritzl's plea reversal, but that Fritzl hoped his change of plea would help his victims.
The court later heard psychiatrist Dr Adelheid Kastner say there was a danger Fritzl would repeat his behavior if he was left untreated.She recommended that he be sent to a psychiatric facility, although strictly speaking he was not insane.
"What I told the court was that Mr Fritzl has never been mentally ill," she told the BBC outside the courtroom, "and that he has always been sane in the legal sense of the word - that he was always able to discern between right and wrong, and that he always knew what he did was wrong."
She said Fritzl had an overwhelming need to dominate and control, which she said stemmed from his childhood.
She said he was an unwanted, unloved child, intelligent, who had grown up determined to have somebody who belonged to him alone.
He was emotionally deficient but that he knew what he was doing was wrong, she added.
The court viewed the testimony from Fritzl's daughter on Tuesday.
Austrian media reports said his daughter Elisabeth was in a private viewing chamber in the courthouse at the time. However, officials refused to confirm this, saying only that a number of unnamed people had been there.
Fritzl lured his 18-year-old daughter into a cellar with windowless, soundproofed chambers beneath their house in Amstetten in 1984.
He imprisoned her there and raped her repeatedly over a number of years.
The daughter and three of the children fathered by Fritzl were kept captive in the cellar until the case came to light in April last year, when one of the children became seriously ill and was taken to hospital.He was accused of murdering one of newborn twin boys his daughter gave birth to in 1996, having failed to arrange medical care for the ailing infant.
PRAGUE: Pavel remembers the violent night sweats two days before the murder. He went to see a family doctor, who said they would go away. But after viewing a Bruce Lee martial arts film, he said, he felt uncontrollable sexual desires. He invited a 12-year-old neighbor home. Then he stabbed the boy repeatedly.
His psychiatrist says Pavel derived sexual pleasure from the violence.
More than 20 years have passed. Pavel, then 18, spent seven years in prison and five years in a psychiatric institution. During his last year in prison, he asked to be surgically castrated. Having his testicles removed, he said, was like draining the gasoline from a car hard-wired to crash. A large, dough-faced man, he is sterile and has forsaken marriage, romantic relationships and sex, he said. His life revolves around a Catholic charity, where he is a gardener.
"I can finally live knowing that I am no harm to anybody," he said during an interview at a McDonald's here, as children played loudly nearby. "I am living a productive life. I want to tell people that there is help."
He would not give his last name for fear of being hounded.
Whether castration can help rehabilitate violent sex offenders has come under new scrutiny after the Council of Europe's anti-torture committee last month called surgical castration "invasive, irreversible and mutilating" and demanded the Czech Republic stop offering the procedure to violent sex offenders. Other critics said that castration threatened to lead society down a dangerous road toward eugenics.
The Czech Republic has allowed at least 94 prisoners to be surgically castrated over the past decade. It is the only country in Europe that uses the procedure for sex offenders. Czech psychiatrists supervising the treatment - a one-hour operation that involves removal of the tissue that produces testosterone - insist that it is the most foolproof way to tame sexual urges in dangerous predators.
Surgical castration has been a means of social control for centuries. In ancient China, eunuchs were trusted to serve the imperial family inside the palace grounds; in Italy several centuries ago, youthful male choir members were castrated to preserve their high singing voices.
These days it can also be used to treat testicular cancer and some advanced cases of prostate cancer.
Now, more countries in Europe are considering mandating or allowing chemical castration for violent sex offenders. There is intense debate over whose rights take precedence: those of violent sex offenders, who could be subjected to a punishment that many consider cruel, or those of society, which expects protection from sexual predators.
Poland is expected to become the first nation of the European Union to give judges the right to impose chemical castration on at least some convicted pedophiles, using hormonal drugs to curb sexual appetite; the impetus for the change was the arrest of a 45-year-old man in September who had fathered two children by his young daughter.
Spain is considering plans to offer chemical castration after a convicted pedophile killed a child.
Last year, the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, signed legislation requiring courts to order chemical castration for offenders convicted a second time of certain sex crimes against children.
In the Czech Republic, the issue was brought home last month when Antonin Novak, 43, was sentenced to life in prison for raping and killing Jakub Simanek, a 9-year-old boy who disappeared last May.
Novak, who had served four and a half years in prison for sexual offenses in Slovakia, had been undergoing outpatient treatment but had failed to show up several months before the killing. Advocates of surgical castration argued that had he been castrated, the tragedy could have been prevented.
Hynek Blasko, Jakub's father, expressed indignation that human rights groups were putting the rights of criminals ahead of those of victims. "My personal tragedy is that my son is in heaven, and he is never coming back, and all I have left of him is 1.5 kilograms of ashes," he said in an interview. "No one wants to touch the rights of the pedophiles, but what about the rights of a 9-year-old boy with his life ahead of him?"
Ales Butala, a Slovenian human rights lawyer who led the Council of Europe's delegation to the Czech Republic, argued that surgical castration was unethical, since it was not medically necessary and deprived castrated men of the right to reproduce. He also challenged its effectiveness, saying that the council's committee had discovered three cases of castrated Czech sex offenders who had gone on to commit violent crimes, including pedophilia and attempted murder.
In its report, the committee also said that it had found cases of first-time, nonviolent offenders who had been surgically castrated, including mentally retarded men and exhibitionists. Although the procedure is voluntary, Butala said that he believed some offenders feel they have no choice.
"Sex offenders are requesting castration in hope of getting released from a life of incarceration," he said. "Is that really free and informed consent?"
But government health officials and some Czech psychiatrists counter that castration can be effective and argue that, by seeking to outlaw the practice, the council is putting potential victims at risk.
Dr. Martin Holly, a leading sexologist and psychiatrist who is director of the Psychiatric Hospital Bohnice in Prague, said none of the nearly 100 sex offenders who had been physically castrated had committed further offenses.
A Danish study of 900 castrated sex offenders in the 1960s suggested the rate of repeat offenses dropped after surgical castration to 2.3 percent from 80 percent.
But human rights groups counter that such studies are inconclusive since they rely on self-reporting by sex offenders. Other psychiatric experts argue that sexual pathology is in the brain and cannot be cured by surgery.
Holly, who has counseled convicted sex offenders for four decades, stressed that the procedure was being allowed only for repeat violent offenders who suffered from severe sexual disorders. Moreover, he said, the procedure is undertaken only with the informed consent of the patient and with the approval of an independent committee of psychiatric and legal experts.
Jaroslav Novak, chief of urology at the Faculty Hospital Na Bulovce in Prague, said: "This is not a very common procedure. We carry it out maybe once every one to two years at most."
In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that involuntary surgical castration constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Several states, including Texas, Florida and California, now allow or mandate chemical castration for certain convicted sex offenders.
Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Sexual Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins University, argued that chemical castration was less physically harmful than surgery and that it provided a safeguard, because a psychiatrist could inform the courts or the police if the patient ordered to undergo treatment failed to show up. A surgically castrated patient, Berlin said, could order testosterone over the Internet.
For Hynek Blasko, the murdered boy's father, neither form of castration is the answer. "These people must be under permanent detention where they can be monitored," he said. "There has to be a difference between the rights of the victim and the perpetrator."
The BBC comes out with a news article that I find rather interesting.
The judge said it was the first such criminal case in which someone found possessing illegal images had to pay restitution, despite not creating them.
Briton Alan Hesketh was sentenced to 78 months in prison in October.
"We're dealing with a frontier here," Judge Warren W Eginton was quoted by Associated Press (AP).
'Feeling of revulsion'
Mr Hesketh, of Stonington, Connecticut, was found with more than 2,000 images of child pornography.
Images of the victim as a child were found amid the collection.
"There is a feeling of revulsion about this type of conduct," the judge said.
The defendant's attorney said he would appeal against the decision, saying it was too high and may lead to more claims by other victims of child abuse.
The lawyer representing the victim, however, said there was no difference between the defendant and those who made the images.
"The victim is a victim of sexual exploitation caused by this defendant," Marsh was quoted as saying by AP.
Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said he hoped the decision would serve to act as a deterrent."We think this is a terrific precedent," Mr Allen said. "The photos stay out there forever. Every time they are downloaded, every time they are distributed, the victim in that image is re-victimized."
So what do you think about that? I quite like it. I think this new precedent is a good one, and one that if anything should strengthen. Violence and oppression toward the vulnerable needs to be addressed at various levels - not only those who are "snapping" the photos - but also those purchasing them - those contributing to the cycle of abuse.
The fact that many people do not understand is that once a child has been victimized ONCE - it does not end there. The violence to children continues as pictures continue to spread, websites continue to get hit, etc. HUMAN BEINGS are a renewable resource that are making some people far too much money. No one should be a commodity in any form or fashion - and anyone who helps to contribute to that should pay severe consequences.
There is a text I have been struggling with the last couple days. It comes from the Bible, the book of Luke, chapter 6 verses 35 and 36. It says:
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
I am okay up through the first sentence, it is logical to me; love your enemies, do good to them, but don’t expect anything in return. I can handle that. I have people I am not a fan of, but I can be polite - okay, I guess that is not loving them, I still have work to do, but I GET it. You want to know why? Because in the book of Psalms I hear David talking about a God that will take revenge for him. We don’t need to seek that for ourselves. God is a righteous God that will make sure justice is served in the end.
But then I read on. I get to the part that says God is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” What? I mean, if I really think about it, I am thankful for a God like this. I want to serve a God that is kind and merciful – but if I am completely honest with you, sometimes I don’t think it is fair that God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
I can’t help but think about some of the pimps of the women that I work with. Some of them are the personification of EVIL here on earth. The things they have done to these girls are unimaginable. How am I to be merciful as God is merciful to these individuals when all I feel is anger and rage in my heart for how they have treated another human being?
What about traffickers? What about those who force children into war? What about those who are slave holders? What about corrupt governmental officials that do nothing about all of this? What about these people – WHY is God showing his kindness and mercy to them? ESPECIALLY when they are ungrateful and unwilling to receive it?
I guess, bottom line, I’m a fan of a God that wants (and does) save everyone; a God that is about grace. But I am sure glad that when he gives us texts like the ones above…the kindness and mercy to others is not reliant on my actions. Because I most often lack the ability to love those whom I believe are wicked. I have a hard time overlooking my concern that they experience justice in the end.
Chris has a gift of being able to articulately communicate what so many from my generation (and I believe even the generations above me) are feeling but don't know how to express.
I voted for Obama in this last election - and took A LOT of grief for it. Those I took the most grief from were persons who unabashedly admitted they were two-issue voters. For them moral values didn't stem much further (at least when it came to election) than abortion and gay marriage. I just wasn't satisfied with that. Although to many who have known me for my whole life I might be seen as swinging way to the left, becoming liberal or letting go of my roots - I see it as expanding my perspective of what it truly means to follow Christ. As Chris so delicately put it:
"We are pro life, but for us that definition is far broader than abortion. It includes poverty, AIDS, human trafficking and the war in Iraq."I encourage you to check out the new website he created - the virtual community of those he has titled "Recovering Evangelicals." Those who are tired of the old ways of traditionally viewing things and are looking for a new standard and a broader scope of what it might mean to be a missional follower of Christ. Come check it out and join in the conversation!