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4 Kenyan activists denied entry into Uganda

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights official Hassan Omar Hassan and three other activists were on Wednesday denied entry into Uganda, where they planned to meet with Uganda\’s Chief Justice over the continued detention of Al-Amin Kimathi.

Mr Hassan told Capital News on phone from Entebbe that six other people in the entourage managed to get through, before he and his three colleagues were blocked from leaving the airport.

“We arrived here at about 9.30am from Nairobi but after some of our colleagues had been allowed in, four of us were denied entry,” Mr Hassan said.

He said they were informed that an order had been issued by the Immigration Minister to block them from entering Uganda.  Others denied entry with Hassan were Hussein Modhar, Khalid Ketami and lawyer Sam Mohochi who is also the Executive Director of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU).

“We are now waiting for another flight back to Kenya which we understand will leave Entebbe airport at 1.30pm (1130GMT),” he added.

He said among the six who were allowed into Uganda were lawyers Pheroze Nowrojee and Harun Ndubi.

Al-Amin Kimathi who was the Executive Coordinator of the Muslim Human Rights Forum was detained by Uganda authorities last year, after he went to Kampala for the hearing of a case against a group of Kenyans who are among 17 suspects facing trial over last July’s bombings there.

Mr Kimathi is now facing charges of terrorism, murder, and attempted murder over the July 11, 2010 suicide attacks on two Kampala bars.  Somalia\’s Al-Shabaab insurgents claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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Uganda has previously rejected calls by the Commonwealth Lawyers\’ Association to free Mr Kimathi.

The Association has been running advertisements in local and foreign media urging Uganda to unconditionally free Mr Kimathi on grounds that his detention was arbitrary and an abuse of human rights.

In November last year, charges against 17 of the 36 initial suspects who had been accused of involvement in suicide bombings were dropped.

At least 76 people were killed in the bombings on the night of the World Cup final.

Those exonerated, had spent more than three months in custody.

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