He whoever believed that there was justice to be found in European courts should have another think.
He who upheld the European legal system when it came to meting out well-deserved justice should look elsewhere for that. He who ever advocated that individuals, companies, men, women, adults, children … were all equal in the eyes of the western legal system, must have misread the lines. Those of us who believed that the investigative, sharp, legally scrutinizing powers of the age-old European courts were more than capable to distinguish baseless allegations from solid evidence must only blame ourselves for the misconception.
Or so it appears going by a decision a Breda, Holland, court reached in favor of the most notorious, Internet pirate, who poses as an ‘independent’ Somali journalist, on 19 November 2012. What a laugh! I am sure that the Breda court Judges did not know the man was thumbing his nose at them all the while.
Dahabshiil filed a case against one Dahir Alasaw of Waagacusub.net, Waagacusub.com, Sunatimes.com, Waagacusub.org, somalilandpress.net and so on.
Dahabshiil, complainant, sought justice against what it termed as ‘adverse material damaging to company reputation, that Dahir Alasaw, plaintiff, ‘continuously and unjustifiably published’ published against the company on the Internet for over five years now.
Dahabshiil had cause to.
Alasaw, using a myriad of overnight websites and satellite websites, over which he exerts influence, waged a relentless propaganda war on the money transfer company. Some of the tactics he use include fanning hatred among ethnic clans, and specifically, between the related HT clans and Dhulbahante, and the Isaac and Samaroon; forging papers and telephone calls to support unfounded allegations; borrowing the bylines of young, inexperienced ‘journalists’ coercing them to write against Dahabshiil; drumming up support from any and all quarters that he can tape a word or two of; extorting, bribing or blackmailing hapless artistes and journalists that Dahabshiil was looking for them (for what reason, he need not proof); convincing sympathetic European ears that he was a martyr for freedom of the press, and that he sought asylum against Al Shebab assassination – none of which can hold water in any self-respecting courtroom. Google the Internet and surf through the hundred of articles and videos Waagacusub Media published against one of the most respected Somali icons of this age.
A Number of documents presented to the court were, like his other made up ‘investigative reports’ nothing short of criminal forgeries.
Some were ostensibly written by ‘victims’ of Dahabshiil adverse attention. None of the subjects in those were called to the court as witnesses. None of the people named in those defamatory, highly accusatory, ‘signed’ papers were made to appear in court for either party. Strangely enough, the court did not point out the anomaly or correct it. Instead, a decision that shames all European sense of justice was drawn out of a drawer and slapped in the face of the party that sought justice.
On the other hand, the material that Dahabshiil lawyers submitted included hundreds of pages defaming the company. Most of these were nothing but ill-conceived, concocted up fabrications that could be easily verified by any law enforcing body or person. Among them were pictorial mutilations of the company logo – a clear infringement on brand and patent. Among the material were hundreds of articles all of which provenance could be directly traced back to Alasaw himself or his directly controlled websites.
Besides, the Court in Breda could only have looked back at its records to note that Alasaw denied of some of the websites that he owned up to in latter hearing. The Court in Breda should have ruled that unless proven otherwise, Dahabshiil was, in fact, the victim of a ruthless vilification campaign perpetrated by this Alasaw and his acolytes heinously misusing the good intentions of ‘freedom of speech’.
The court in Breda, clearly, did not give a fair trial. It is also clear that Dahabshiil lawyers did not do their homework professionally to the best interests of their client. To the contrary, they did more damage to Dahabshiil by their silence and by not following up on leads, construed as professional consent/acceptance.
Alasaw charging Dahabshiil of complicity in genocide, in terrorism, in assassinations and assassination attempts and in misplacement of customer trust placed all his cards on the table. They formed a shield full of so many chinks and loopholes that any decent practicing criminal lawyer could have made mincemeat of. It did not happen. One wonders why.
The two court hearings only encouraged the Freedom of Speech Pirate, Alasaw, to incessantly – and nauseatingly – brag about legal ‘victories against Dahabshiil’ all over the Internet. It is not fair to a company that the vast majority of Somalis can attest to its impeachable integrity, and that is widely hailed as the best thing that happened to Somalis for over the past two turbulent decades or so.
One also may wonder why the court in Breda did not caution the said Alasaw against spreading unproven, wild allegations with the intention to bring down a reputed, internationally respected company. By accepting Alasaw’s wild allegations on face value without the support of impregnable proof is tantamount to a legal permission for Alasaw to go on blackmailing businesses, individuals and administrations alike.
Surely, that is not the way ‘freedom of speech’ was meant to be.
Dr. Abdi Hassan Abdullahi,