Charge Iteere over renditions, Mutula says

October 21, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere risks facing prosecution for violating the new Constitution by ordering the arrest of Kenyan suspects who were illegally renditioned to Uganda where they are facing charges.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo told Muslim leaders on Thursday that the police action "amounted to a serious violation of the new law and has serious consequences."

"The chain reaction begins with the person who arrested a Kenyan and took him to Uganda and will end when you arrest and prosecute the person who arrested that Kenyan and took him to Uganda, because it is a violation of the rights of that Kenyan," asserted Mr Kilonzo.

"I saw somebody defending it. Stop being polite… that is a violation of the Constitution.  They ought themselves to be prosecuted for that, every citizen must respect and obey the Constitution," he added.

Mr Kilonzo spoke after he held a meeting with Muslim leaders at Jamia Mosque where they demanded to know why the government was not bothered with the arrest and prosecution of some 13 Kenyans facing terror and murder charges in Uganda.

"My ministry cannot be blamed in any way in this issue.  It does not have powers to arrest or even prosecute.  Those powers lie clearly with the Attorney General.  I have even advised the Muslim leaders to write to him," the Minister said.

"The truth of the matter is that the Constitution has been violated and will continue being violated until and unless those Kenyans are brought back and charged in a court of law established under the Kenyan laws," he said.

And he added: "The law is very clear… any Kenyan must be treated within the laws established in this country."

"The AG is responsible for extradition and issues like that.  I have forwarded a letter from the Muslim leaders so that the AG can explain to Kenyans and tell them the next cause of action," he said.

The Minister said he was saddened that most Kenyans and even those holding higher offices had not farmiliarised themselves with the new Constitution.

"People have not internalised the new Constitution, particularly Article 49 and 50.  I agree with judges who have condemned the renditions but as they issue orders – barring the renditions – they should also offer other protection to Kenyans because they are there. Like compensation, "the Minister said.

"Those responsible for these violations ought to be prosecuted, it is a serious violation of the Constitution. They ought themselves to answer.  Read the constitution and you will know who is supposed to be arrested and prosecuted, it cannot be otherwise," he said.

Muslim leaders at the meeting included Sheikh Dor, Al-Haji Yusuf Murigu who is the deputy chairman of NAMLEF, Hassan Omar Hassan of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights among others.

The leaders lauded the Minister for taking time to meet them at the Mosque at a time when they are faced with serious challenges facing some of their Muslim brothers.

"In fact he [Mr Kilonzo] is the first non-Muslim minister to come to Jamia mosque," one leader said.

Mr Murigu said the Muslim leadership would write to Attorney General Amos Wako in due course to seek answers over the arrest and renditions of Kenyans to Uganda where they are facing murder and terror-related charges.

Al Amin Kimathi of the Muslim Human Rights Forum is among the 13 Kenyans charged and remanded in Uganda over the terror attack that left 76 people dead during the world cup season.

Some of the suspects were arrested in Kenya and later hurriedly flown to Uganda while others like Mr Kimathi were arrested in Kampala after he went for the hearing of the case against the other suspects.

The Muslim leaders are demanding the intervention of the government to ensure the Kenyans are brought back to face justice at home.

They are particularly concerned that the Kenyan police did not follow the right channels in the rendition of the Kenyans to Uganda.


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