Kenya secretly sent four terrorism suspects to Uganda after the World Cup bomb blasts in violation of Kenyan law, and FBI agents interrogated three of them in a manner that broke Ugandan law, human rights officials say.
The officials said that Kenya circumvented its own extradition laws to send the four suspects to Uganda, where they can be interrogated for a lengthy period without scrutiny. Further, there is no indication that Uganda made formal extradition requests of the individuals.
Lawyer Mbugua Mureithi, who represents the families of suspects, said no attempts were made by the Kenyan government to follow extradition procedures.
A spokesman for Kenya’s government said Wednesday he did not have any immediate comment.
No arrest warrants exist in Kenya and nor do any court orders granting permission for the citizens to be removed from the country, Mureithi said. Kenyan authorities should have first charged the suspects in Kenya, he said. Instead, he charges that the removals amount to kidnapping.
Mureithi said the FBI and Kenyan police interrogated three of the suspects in Uganda after they were charged in court on July 30, violating their rights of a fair trial under Uganda’s constitution. Mureithi said he had visited the three last week who told him that they also have been interrogated by the FBI at least three times.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said Wednesday the U.S. is aiding the investigation but he did not have any immediate comment on the role the FBI was playing. Americans were among the casualties, which is most likely why the FBI is involved. The individuals may face possible extradition to the U.S., but only if the U.S. government makes a formal extradition request.
The four Kenyans — Hussein Hassan Agade, Idris Magondu, Mohamed Adan Abdow, and Mohamed Hamid Suleiman — were arrested from different locations in Kenya following the July 11 attack that killed 76 people as large crowds watched the World Cup final on TV.
Al-Shabab, a Somali group with links to al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for the attacks and said it targeted Uganda because Ugandan troops belonging to an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia have killed Somali civilians.
The transfer of the four suspects was similar to the arrests of 100 people of various nationalities who were fleeing violence in Somalia in 2007. Those arrested were flown back to Somalia and then to secret prisons in Ethiopia, where they were interrogated by the CIA and FBI. All those arrested in those swoops were set free within a year, but nine Kenyans remained in custody for more than a year before they were released.
Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.
The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at one of the offices listed above.