Freed Kenyan lawyer accuses Uganda of witch hunt

September 19, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Sep 19 – A Kenyan lawyer detained in Uganda where he went to aid some Kenyan suspects in July\’s deadly Kampala bombings accused Ugandan authorities of a "witch-hunt" on Sunday, the day after his release.

Mbugua Mureithi, who was detained at a hotel outside the Ugandan capital on Wednesday, was released on Saturday without charge and immediately flew back to Kenya.

A Muslim rights activist, al-Amin Kimathi, who was arrested at the same time as Mureithi, remains in detention.

A spokesman for the Ugandan police said the men were arrested at the Niagara Hotel during a sweep against suspected members of the Shehab, Somalia\’s Al-Qaeda linked insurgent group which claimed responsibility for the July 11 bombings that killed 76 people watching a broadcast of the football World Cup Final.

"When we arrested the Shehab suspects who were taking part in a meeting (at the hotel), we realised that there was a lawyer amongst them," the police spokesman said on Saturday.

On Sunday Mureithi reacted: "This story is absurd and preposterous. It is false and far from the truth."

"The only people that were arrested at the parking lot of the hotel were myself and Mr Kimathi. The reason we stopped at Niagara Hotel was because we were lured by Rapid Response Unit agents," he said.

"His (Kimathi) detention is a complete witch-hunt," he said.

"For me I think it is now a personal risk to return to Uganda. I don\’t think I can go back," he said.

Police have charged a total of 32 people — 10 of them Kenyans — in Uganda over the suicide attacks on two crowded Kampala bar-restaurants.

Both Kimathi and Mureithi have already criticised the transfer of Kenyan suspects to Uganda without due legal process.

The suspects are to be tried inside a prison instead of the normal courts. The authorities justified the decision on security grounds.


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