Uganda frees Kimathi as bomb trial opens

September 12, 2011 9:42 am
Human Rights Al-Amin Kimathi/FILE

, KAMPALA, Sep 12 – Uganda on Monday dropped charges against five suspects, including a Kenyan human rights activist, accused of involvement in 2010 bombings in Kampala, but is expected to try 14 others.

Human rights campaigner Al-Amin Kimathi, along with a fellow Kenyan, two Ugandans and a Somali national, appeared shocked but happy as they left Kampala’s High Court.

“The state has said we are not charging these people before court… they can walk free,” said Judge Owinyi Dolo, after the prosecution withdrew the case against them.

Twin suicide bombers struck bars in Kampala where people had gathered to watch the World Cup final on July 11 last year, killing at least 76 people.

The attacks were claimed by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-inspired Shabaab rebels in revenge for Ugandan military involvement in the African Union’s force protecting the Western-backed Somali government.

Kimathi was arrested in September last year while in Kampala to hear the cases against Kenyan suspects in the bombing, and rights groups have repeatedly called for his release on grounds that his arrest was arbitrary.

Kimathi appeared dazed and gave a wide smile as he embraced family members outside court, but did not make a statement.

“This is a very happy moment for all who want justice to be done,” said Kimathi’s brother Onesmus Imanene.

“Justice has been done, it is a travesty that an innocent man be incarcerated for one year when he did nothing wrong.”

The bombings were the worst in East Africa since attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.


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