HARGEISA, Somaliland—A 72-year-old German national has been sentenced to four years in prison and fined $10,000 for engaging in un-Islamic behavior by creating porn videos and photos of him having sex with local women.
Gunter Bischoss, who has lived for several years in the breakaway northern region of Somaliland, is married to a Somali woman and worked for international relief agencies, according to police. The Washington Post reported that a 23-year-old woman also was sentenced to one year in jail and fined $880 in the same case.
AllVoices.com reported in November that despite being brought to justice in democratic Somaliland, and not in Somalia, which is controlled by an Islamist government that ruled according to Sharia law, Bischoff could have faced a death sentence.
The state’s director general of the ministry of religion and endowment, Ibrahim Ismail Mohamed, said in November that Bischoff’s alleged crime required that he be killed.
“This Germen man who has been living in Hargeisa for some time used to claim that he has taken the Islamic religion but the security officers in Hargeisa found some cassettes containing immoral movies that he recorded on Somaliland girls of whom some are behind bars and the case of this man was very much discussed in the mosques in Hargeisa recently in which the government was asked to take vital steps based on Sharia law,” said Mohamed.
The court was ultimately allowed to proceed without any government or religious interference, and Thursday the sentence was handed down. It would have likely been a very different story had Bischoff been tried in Somalia.