Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kenya could pay Sh2bn to terror suspect

The outside of the "Camp Six" detention facility is seen at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay December 10, 2008, in this image reviewed by the US military. Photo/REUTERS

The outside of the "Camp Six" detention facility is seen at US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay December 10, 2008, in this image reviewed by the US military. Photo/REUTERS 

By CAROL RWENJI

The government could be ordered by the High Court to pay more than Sh2 billion in damages to a Kenyan terror suspect detained at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for the past two years.

Mr Mohammed Abdulmalik, has sued the Kenyan Government for detaining him illegally and handing him over to the Counter Terrorism Agents in America.

The case, which comes up Thursday before High Court Judge Justice Jean Gacheche has the commissioner of police and the attorney general named as the first and second respondents respectively.

The suit has been filed on behalf of the detainee by his siblings Mariam Mohamed and Salim Khamis Juma.

The detainee wants Justice Gacheche to issue orders directing the Kenya Government to intervene with the US government by seeking his release from detention and repatriation to Kenya.

“Mr Abdulmalik further seeks several declarations among them that he, the subject through the Petitioners is entitled to general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages against the Respondents jointly or severally.” His lawyer Mr Mbugua Mureithi told the court during his final submissions.

He is also represented by lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee.

The 37 year old detainee is demanding Sh2,249,920,032 in damages. The figure has been calculated at a daily mean of Sh1,864,054 from the day of arrest on February 13, 2007 to January 21, 2010.

The camp is expected to shut down on January 21 next year in accordance to an executive order issued by the US President Barrack Obama in January 22, this year.

Mr Abdulmalik, who is the only Kenyan to have been held at the Guantanamo Bay, also wants the AG to take measures “within the legal and diplomatic powers of the Government to intercede and formally request the US Government to immediately release the Subject from their custody and repatriate him to Kenya”.

He also wants the government to ensure that he is repatriated safely back to the country and issued with a Kenyan passport, air tickets and an official escort.

Mr Abdulmalik maintains that his arrest and detention are unconstitutional and against his fundamental rights.

He argues that he was detained illegally from February 13 to February 27, two years ago, which is contrary to the 14-day period allowed by law before being handed over to the American government.

He further accused the police commissioner of denying him “the right to counsel and freedom against torture, inhuman and degrading treatment” which he emphasised, are guaranteed by the Kenyan constitution.