04 March 2009

Renditions, American-style: how Kenya joined the War on Terror


Kenya’s government illegally detained and rendered 150 citizens in a US-influenced ‘counter-terrorism’ operation, a report reveals today.

The report, compiled by Redress and Reprieve, reveals the devastating effect of US policies on human rights in Africa, as Kenyan officials aped and obeyed their powerful ally in jettisoning hard-won legal rights in the region.

The 150 people, of 21 nationalities and including children, were seized near the Kenyan border over three months from December 2006. Many were fleeing to Kenya from the conflict in Somalia.

Held beyond the rule of law, some were tortured and subjected to cruel and degrading treatment, while up to 120 were ‘rendered’ to Somalia and Ethiopia outside of any legal process.

One Kenyan citizen, Abdulmalik, was handed to US forces and rendered to a US secret prison in Djibouti, Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, and an unidentified secret prison in Kabul. Abdulmalik finally ended up in Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held for two years without charge and without being shown any evidence against him.

This incident demonstrates the pernicious effect of US counterterrorism policies worldwide, and the urgent need for the Obama administration to publicly renounce the illegal practice of extraordinary renditions.

Redress and Reprieve call for urgent action:

- Kenya must conduct a full and transparent inquiry into this incident and a review of counter-terrorism policies to ensure that they comply fully with human rights obligations

- The United States must publicly renounce extraordinary rendition and urge its partners and allies to follow suit

-The African Union and United Nations must review counter-terrorism policies to actively enforce human rights obligations

COMMENT
Reprieve and Redress are available for comment today, and the full report: ‘Kenya and Counter-terrorism: A Time for Change’ is available on request. Please contact Reprieve on +44 20 74271099 or Redress on +44 20 7793 1777.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

REDRESS is a human rights organisation which works to combat torture by seeking justice for torture survivors. We take legal challenges on behalf of survivors, work to ensure that torturers are punished and that survivors and their families obtain remedies for their suffering.

REPRIEVE is a British legal action charity. Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. We investigate, litigate and educate. Working on the frontline, we provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves, promoting the rule of law around the world, and securing each person’s right to a fair trial. In doing so, we save lives.

REDRESS REPRIEVE
87 Vauxhall Walk PO Box 52742
London, SE11 5HJ London EC4P 4WS
Tel: +44 2077931777 Tel: 0207 3534640
www.redress.org www.reprieve.org.uk

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