Two Canadian women jailed in Somalia and facing 40 lashes were released Tuesday, according to sources.
Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, were arrested in January after police entered a house in Hargeisa, their lawyer Mubarik Mohamoud Abdi said.
The women, who are originally from Ottawa, were accused of having consumed alcohol, which is illegal in Somaliland, a self-declared republic still internationally considered to be part of Somalia.
New York-based human rights activist Jason Jeremias said Abdi was in Somaliland to help women facing gender-based violence.
Their lawyer said they signed confessions under duress, hoping to avoid jail, but they were sentenced to 2½ months in prison and 40 lashes.
"[The prosecution] did not prove before the court that they used alcohol," their lawyer said.
Conditions were awful
In a statement, Maymona Abdi's mother Fahima Hassan wrote, "Maymona and Karima were born and grew up in Ottawa, Canada, as best friends. When Karima's mother died, she became our daughter."