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Itumbi held over ICC hacking claims

Friday March 23 2012

By ANGIRA ZADOCK [email protected]

Police have arrested a Nairobi-based journalist over claims he hacked into the International Criminal Court’s website.

Mr Dennis Itumbi, a blogger, was arrested in Embu and detained at the Muthaiga Police Station on Thursday night, according to Criminal Investigations Department director Ndegwa Muhoro.

Mr Muhoro, however, could not confirm whether he will be charged in court.

“We are still investigating his involvement in the hacking and it is too early to say when he will be arraigned in court,” Mr Muhoro told Nation on Friday.

Police and the Witness Protection Agency are currently investigating the claims by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, of e-mail hacking and threatening of witnesses.

An entry in the Occurrence Book at the Muthaiga Police Station showed the journalist was arrested for allegedly accessing classified documents.

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Mr Itumbi was removed from the cells at Muthaiga on Friday morning under tight security and taken to his residence in Thindigwa where the detectives searched his house and confiscated his laptop.

As he was being escorted from his house to the police vehicle, Mr Itumbi told journalists he had been questioned over some documents related to the ICC cases.

He also said he was interrogated about a video clip he had posted on his twitter account claiming that Prime Minister Raila Odinga had threatened electoral boss Isaack Hassan and other commissioners.

The video captured a conversation between the chairman and two other commissioners before addressing a press conference where they allegedly admit to receiving threats from the ODM camp on the announcement of the election date.

The blogger added that he was also to be questioned over the disclosure in Parliament of documents allegedly from the British Government showing plans to have the ICC indict President Kibaki when he leaves office.

But the CID director refused to comment on Mr Itumbi’s claims. By the time of going to press, the Mr Itumbi was being held at Kileleshwa Police Station.

Concerns have been raised over protection of key witnesses in the cases pending before The Hague-based court.

It has been alleged that the court’s e-mail accounts have been hacked into for witnesses’ evidence and communication between them and the Office of the Prosecutor.

Attorney-General Githu Muigai last week ordered the police to investigate claims by Mr Moreno-Ocampo of e-mail hacking and intimidation of witnesses.

Prof Muigai said he had received a complaint from Mr Moreno-Ocampo that there was “hacking of e-mail accounts of a person of interest” to his office.

The ICC prosecutor had also complained of witness intimidation.