Kenya accused of illegally transferring 4 terrorist suspects

Kenya secretly sent four terrorism suspects to Uganda after the World Cup bomb blasts in violation of Kenyan law, and FBI agents interrogated three of them in a manner that broke Ugandan law, human rights officials say.

The officials said that Kenya circumvented its own extradition laws to send the four suspects to Uganda, where they can be interrogated for a lengthy period without scrutiny.

“The fact that they are extralegally being moved looks like the Kenyans have devised reasons to circumvent the law,” said Al-Amin Kimathi, the chairman of the Muslim Human Rights Forum. “The end is not justice, the end is information gathering via all sorts of interrogation efforts.”

Lawyer Mbugua Mureithi, who represents the families of suspects, said no attempts were made by the Kenyan government to follow extradition procedures.

“Even more disturbing is that Uganda has not made a formal request to extradite the four nationals to Uganda,” he said.

A spokesman for Kenya’s government said Wednesday he did not have any immediate comment.

No arrest warrants exist in Kenya and nor do any court orders granting permission for the citizens to be removed from the country, Mureithi said. Kenyan authorities should have first charged the suspects in Kenya, he said. Instead, he charges that the removals amount to kidnapping.

Mureithi said the FBI and Kenyan police interrogated three of the suspects in Uganda after they were charged in court on July 30, violating their rights of a fair trial under Uganda’s constitution. Mureithi said he had visited the three last week who told him that they also have been interrogated by the FBI at least three times. Kimathi  questioned further the failure by the Ugandan courts to arraign the suspects in court within 48 hours as it happened with the Uganda suspects. This he said was discriminatory.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman said Wednesday the U.S. is aiding the investigation but he did not have any immediate comment on the role the FBI was playing.

The four Kenyans — Hussein Hassan Agade, Idris Magondu, Mohamed Adan Abdow, and Mohamed Hamid Suleiman — were arrested from different locations in Kenya following the July 11 attack that killed 76 people as large crowds watched the World Cup final on TV.

Al-Shabab, a Somali group with links to al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for the attacks and said it targeted Uganda because Ugandan troops belonging to an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia have killed Somali civilians.

Suleiman’s family says he is innocent and was beaten by police during his arrest last Friday at their home. His supporters say he works as a tour agent, human rights worker and Arabic interpreter for the Kenyan courts.

Kimathi warned that such arrests will make more Muslim youths adopt radical views, which will in turn lead to more violence.

“There is radicalization of youth, especially Muslim youths, now who feel they are completely besieged by this,” he said. “They are fearful that anytime now, any day now, one of them might be grabbed in the wee hours of the morning shunted out to another country.”

National Muslim Leaders Forum Chairman Abdullahi Abdi, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Secretary General Adan Wachu his Council of Imams and Preacher of Kenya counterpart Sheikh Muhammad Dor, and Muslim Human Rights Forum Chairman Al Amin Kimathi expressed concern that following the bombings in Kampala, women, children and old people in Mombasa and Nairobi were harassed and intimidated by security forces.

Kimathi said the transfer of the four suspects was reminiscent of the arrests of 100 people of various nationalities who were fleeing violence in Somalia in 2007. Those arrested were flown back to Somalia and then to secret prisons in Ethiopia, where they were interrogated by the CIA and FBI. All those arrested in those swoops were set free within a year, but nine Kenyans remained in custody for more than a year before they were released.

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