Ethiopia frees eleven Kenyan Muslims
Published on May 3, 2008, 12:00 am
By David Ochami
Eleven Muslims deported to Somalia from Kenya after the collapse of Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union (ICU) have been released from Ethiopian jails and taken to Somalia.
It is not known why they were freed without charges.
But 19 Kenyans deported and detained with this group remain in Ethiopia’s jails in Addis Ababa and Awasso cities.
An unnamed Kenyan among those released has not returned to the country for fear of persecution.
About 60 Kenyans and foreigners were deported to Somalia on January 27 after crossing from the war torn country in the wake of the collapse of the ICU spurred by an Ethiopian led invasion.
Kenyan and Ethiopian authorities accused them of links with the ICU and Al Qaeida. Most were taken to Ethiopia and some to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Reports in Somalia’s Dobley town and Daadab on Kenya’s border with Somalia indicate one of the deportees was Kenyan without identification papers. Relatives declined to divulge further details.
In Nairobi the Muslim Human Rights Forum that has fought against US led renditions said its officials have met some of the released former deportees on the Somalia border.
Al Amin Kimathi, head of the forum, said the eleven were set free from Awasso and taken to Baidoa in South Central Somalia in February, apparently after being cleared by a military tribunal.
The official said one Kenyan has become deaf because of inhuman detention conditions. Independent accounts from former deportees show two detainees are now paralysed and one has lost an eye.
“It shows the extent of torture and atrocities in these jails,” said Al Amin.