Plea renewed for Kenyans to be freed

December 3, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – Families of the eight Kenyans who are still facing charges in Uganda over their alleged involvement in the July Kampala suicide bombings on Friday renewed pressure on the government to have them freed and returned home.

Farida Kimathi, wife to human rights activist Al-Amin Kimathi, Zeinab Hamid and Saida Idris now want President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to intervene in the issue.

They are opposed to the manner in which the Kenyans were renditioned to Uganda and want them brought back to face any alleged charges here.

"Why are they being rendered guilty before they are taken to court?" Mrs Kimathi wondered.

"If they are guilty, let them face the law here, if they are innocent, they should be set free," Ms Hamid, mother to Mohamed Hamid who is also being held said.

Lawyer Mbugua Mureithi of the Muslim Human Rights Forum said the accused were entitled to due legal process.

"None of them is accused of committing any specific acts in Uganda other than allegations of conspiracies with the Ugandans who allegedly confessed to bombing their own country," Mr Mureithi stated.

"If Al-Amin was hosting terrorists in this country why wasn\’t he arrested and prosecuted in this very country?  Why had they to wait until his second trip to Uganda to arrest him and charge him with offences allegedly committed in Kenya?" he queried.

On Wednesday, nine other Kenyans facing charges in the same case were acquitted, but Mr Kimathi and eight others are due to face trial over the terror attack in which at least 76 people were killed.

The co-convener of the Muslim Human Rights Forum Farouk Machanje termed the allegations as a "witch hunt" and said that the law should be applied equally to all Kenyans.

In a September interview with Capital News, Lawyer Hassan Lakicha explained that the manner in which the suspects were arrested and charged, disregarded the Extradition (Contiguous and Foreign Countries) Act.

He argued that the Ugandan government should have issued a warrant of arrest and communicated its intention to Kenya.

"This should have been done through the Ugandan High Commission which would then inform the Attorney General who would take the matter to the Magistrates\’ Courts.  It would be up to the Magistrate\’s Court to determine whether or not Kenya would accept or decline the request by Uganda," he explained.


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