Kenyan judge lambasts extradition of bomb suspects
Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 21:56:00 CDT
Topic: RavenNuke(tm)


NAIROBI, (Reuters) - A Kenyan High Court judge issued a stinging attack on the government on Tuesday for sending Kenyans to Uganda to face charges in connection with July 11 bomb blasts in the capital Kampala.



Judge Mohamed Wasarme said the extraditions flouted the individual rights of Kenyans contained in a new constitution that was promulgated in August and showed impunity in the executive arm of government was still alive and well.

The judge made the comments after a friend of a Kenyan human rights activist facing terrorism and murder charges in connection with attacks sought protection from extradition, even though he has not been arrested.

"This application is a clear indication that the security arms of this country have not tried to understand and appreciate the provision of this new Bill of Rights," Warsame said.

"It also shows that yesteryear's impunity are still thriving in our executive arm of government," he said.
His remarks also came the day after international human rights groups called on Uganda to release the activist, Al-Amin Kimathi, who is chairman of Kenya's Muslim Human Rights Forum.

Twin bombs exploded in crowds watching the World Cup final on July 11 in Kampala killing 79 people and wounding several dozen. Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab movement claimed responsibility for the bombings, saying it was retribution for Uganda's deployment in Mogadishu.

Kimathi was arrested on Sept. 15 in the Ugandan capital, where he had travelled to witness court hearings of Kenyan suspects sent to neighbouring Uganda.

Many Kenyans are angered by the way their government has extradited Kenyan nationals to Uganda, alleging the correct judicial procedures have not been followed. Kimathi, a prominent Muslim activist, was among the most critical in public.

A total of 38 people, including Ugandans, Kenyans and Somalis, have been charged with terrorism over the bombings.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission, a civil society group, says 13 Kenyans have been "renditioned" to Uganda.

The government said last week that it had extradited its citizens under an East African Community security agreement designed to reduce cross-border crimes.


"ARBITRARILY DETAINED"
Judge Warsame's ruling in the Nairobi High Court would prevent police from extraditing an associate of Kimathi.

Mohamed Aktar Kana, an interior designer who describes himself as a close friend of Kimathi, said he was expecting to be detained due to his association with Kimathi and other suspects held in Uganda. He also feared that trips to Yemen to visit his first wife and children could make him a target.

The judge said if Kana were arrested he should be brought to court in Kenya and be subject to due process under the new constitution's Bill of Rights, rather than being sent to Uganda.

Analysts say the Bill of Rights gives Kenyans broader rights on a range of issues and the power of redress in the law if their rights are proven to have been broken.

Kimathi was arrested in Uganda together with Kenyan lawyer Mbugua Mureithi, who was later released.

According to documents leaked to the media by Kenya's intelligence services, Kimathi is believed to be the "centre piece" in al Qaeda's regional propaganda wing, tasked with garnering sympathy for hardline Islamists among the media, legal fraternity and human rights groups.

In a joint letter to Uganda's ministry of internal affairs, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International urged Uganda to inform Kimathi formally of the basis for the charges against him without delay, or release him.

"In the absence of any other reasonable detailed explanation from Ugandan authorities, the circumstances ... strongly suggest that Mr Mureithi and Mr Kimathi were arbitrarily detained because they sought to exercise their work as a lawyer and human rights defender respectively," the two watchdogs wrote.
 







This article comes from The kenya weeklypost.com
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