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Faisal: Now lawyer turns to courts

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – The lawyer of Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah El Faisal said on Tuesday he would be filing a constitutional application in court to demand his client’s release and a temporary pass to stay in the country.

Lawyer Mbugua Mureithi said Sheikh Al Faisal’s continued detention without trial was illegal as Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang did not sign a deportation order before unsuccessfully flying him to the Gambia.

Documents in our possession show that the Minister had signed a Prohibited Immigrant Order under Section 3 (1) of the Immigration Act.

The order dated January 2, states in part: “Abdullah Ibrahim El Feisal is for all purposes of the Immigration Act….. a member of the Prohibited Class and a Prohibited Immigrant.”

It added that “El Feisal is not a citizen of Kenya and whose presence in Kenya is contrary to national interest.”

Mr Mureithi said the government was only entitled by the said law to grant the preacher a temporary grace period to enable him exit the country “but not detain him without any trial.”

“I will be going to court tomorrow (Wednesday) to file a constitutional application to challenge the Minister’s order. We have just realised that he did not at any time sign a deportation order, and therefore, the government did not act legally when it unsuccessfully deported him to the Gambia,” Mr Mureithi said.

“Some of the issues I will be raising include unfair treatment and detention which he has been subjected to since he came into the country. Others include his right to know why he is a danger to the country’s security and demand that he be released and given a temporary pass to remain in the country.”

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Mr Mureithi said that “under Section 3 of the Immigration Act, a person declared a prohibited immigrant is not supposed to be deported but instead granted a temporary pass for a grace period to enable them work out their exit.”

The Jamaican cleric was deported to the Gambia via Nigeria last Thursday but was returned back to the country after an airline in Lagos declined to take him on board.

He was then detained at the Industrial Area Remand Prison.

Mr Kajwang told reporters on Monday that Sheikh El-Feisal would remain in prison until the government gets alternative means to fly him out of the country.

Meanwhile, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) wants the government to deport the radical cleric or set him free.

Vice Chairman Hassan Omar Hassan told Capital News on Tuesday that the government was to blame for the furore following the deportation so much so “to a point where every airline is rejecting him, where people are not allowing him passage through their countries, it has almost created a crisis for itself.”

According to the government human rights watchdog, the Jamaican had not committed any wrong to have his rights taken away on suspicions.

The Muslim cleric was arrested on News Years\’ eve as he left a mosque in the coastal town of Mombasa after he allegedly violated regulations on his travel visa.

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