Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kenya deports Jamaican cleric, again

Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal who was deported from Kenya to his native country January 21, 2010. Photo/ FILE

Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal who was deported from Kenya to his native country January 21, 2010. Photo/ FILE 

By JILLO KADIDA

Kenya has finally deported radical cleric Abdullah al-Faisal to his native Jamaica, on the second attempt.

He was spirited out of the country on the day he was scheduled to appear in court.

He travelled out of the country aboard a Gulf Stream plane, according to state counsel Edwin Okello.

However, it is was not immediately clear whether the flight was chartered or not. This revelations were made in court during the hearing of a case filed by activist Al Amin Kimathi challenging the deportation of the controversial hate cleric.

Following the revelation that the cleric has been bundled out of the country the court ordered the Attorney-General to furnish details of airline used and air ticket.

The AG has been ordered to also produce further details of who escorted the cleric by January 26.

The court orders were given by High Court Judge Lady Justice Jeanne Gacheche following application by lawyers representing Sheikh al Faisal.

When the case came up for hearing, lawyers representing the cleric informed the court that they don’t intend to proceed with the case unless the state complies with the order requiring them to produce their client in court.

It was after the comments by the lawyers representing the cleric that the state counsel in the case sought to be given 15 minutes adjournment to communicate with police on whereabouts of Sheikh al Faisal.

And 15 minutes later the state counsel surfaced in court with copies of the cleric’s passport and departure declaration form saying he cannot produce him in court as he is already out of the country.

Sheikh al Faisal’s lawyer immediately accused the state of failing to comply with a court order.

The lawyer asked the judge to take the matter seriously as it is a deliberate move to disobey court order which required production of the cleric.

“If he was deported very early in the morning before the case was heard it is understandable but if they deported him afterwards that is deliberate attempt to disobey court order,” said Mr Mureithi.

Earlier in the day, the state said Sheikh al Faisal was involved in persuading young Muslims to assist Somalia militia group al Shabab.

An investigating officer with the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit told the court that Sheikh al- Faisal, during his preaching in Mombasa, encouraged the youths to assist al Shabab.

However, the officer, Mr Charles Ogeto, did not divulge more details on the affidavit he swore in court in support of a case involving the detention of the cleric.

The state was responding to an application seeking to stop it from deporting the cleric.

In the application, Mr Kimathi said the cleric entered the country lawfully and has not breached any laws to warrant detention or deportation.

Mr Kimathi sued immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’, the Police Commissioner, the commissioner of prisons and the Attorney-General.

The cleric was first arrested by police at Nyali mosque in Mombasa on December 31 and never allowed to see friends, said Mr Kimathi.

The decision to hold the cleric in custody for long, he says, contradicts rights provided for under the constitution and international human rights convention.

The court papers also say that Sheikh al-Faisal was declared a prohibited immigrant without having been accorded the opportunity to be heard.

Sheikh al-Faisal says he was never presented before the immigration department to answer any questions or even show cause why his immigration status as granted to him at the Lunga-Lunga border point should not be revoked.

Sheikh al-Faisal arrived in Kenya on December 24 after travelling through Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi and Tanzania.

The case will come up for hearing on January 26.

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