Kenya to pay $460k to rendition victims

2013-08-02 07:39
Kenyan policemen stand guard. (File, AP)

Kenyan policemen stand guard. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - A Kenyan court has awarded compensation to 11 victims of the largest illegal deportation of terrorism suspects in Africa to countries with appalling human rights records, a lawyer said on Thursday.

The illegal deportations to countries that do not uphold human rights were meant to facilitate long periods for interrogations of the suspects - beyond the prescribed periods - by various security agencies including the FBI and CIA, said Mbugua Mureithi, who represented the 11 victims.

Some of the suspects deported to those countries had complained of torture, he said.

Judge Mumbi Ngugi ordered the Kenya government to pay nearly a total of $460 000 as restitution and ruled that their 2007 deportations from Kenya to Somalia and finally Ethiopia were unlawful and unconstitutional, Mureithi said.

The court announced the judgment on Wednesday but the written report was to be released on Thursday, he said.

The victims, eight Kenyans, two Tanzanians and a Rwandan, were part of a group of more than 100 who were detained in Ethiopia. Some were caught at different times sneaking into Kenya from Somalia, where they were escaping a US-supported Ethiopian army offensive against an Islamic extremist group that controlled much of Somalia. Others were arrested in Kenya.

The Islamic Courts Union had seized control of much of southern Somalia in 2006. Ethiopian authorities worried the Islamic extremists had designs on Ethiopian territory that is ethnically Somali and the US was concerned the Somali Islamists were harbouring terrorists. The Ethiopians entered the country at the end of 2006 and drove the Islamists from power.

The CIA began an aggressive programme in 2002 to interrogate suspected terrorists at an unknown number of secret locations from Southeast Asia to Europe. Prisoners were frequently picked up in one country and transferred to a prison in another, where they were held incommunicado by a cooperative intelligence service.

But former President George W Bush announced in 2006 that all the detainees had been moved to military custody at Guantanamo Bay.

Some of the more than 100 suspects held in Ethiopian renditions were detained for more than 18 months before being released without charge.


Mureithi said Ngugi found that the 11 suspects had been tortured although she exonerated the companies which provided the planes to ferry the suspects from liability. Mureithi said he was not happy with the amount of compensation the court awarded.

"In order to prevent this from happening again the court should have given higher compensation," Mureithi said. "The compensation is not commensurate to the experiences the victims were put through."

He said the court's judgment is "precedent-setting" but is not enough to stop Kenya's government from carrying out such rights violations.

"Unlike in the West where decisions of the court are taken seriously, and it changes behavior, I don't think things are taken seriously in this country. This is just another judgment. I am trying to be optimistic but I don't think this will change things," he said. "That's why substantial damages are necessary they should feel pain in the pocket."

Mureithi said he is waiting for instructions from his clients on whether to sue the United States for its role in the interrogations.

Human rights groups have long accused Kenyan authorities of having a tendency to circumvent the law when they face public pressure for action against crime or terrorism.

Rights groups have accused the police of a culture of executing terror suspects when they cannot secure convictions. The group Muslims for Human Rights says 13 people who were suspected of having links to terror groups have either been killed or have disappeared in unclear circumstances in Kenya so far this year.

At least 18 people were killed or disappeared last year, it said.

Read more on:    cia  |  kenya  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.