21/10/08 (B470-B) F24 / Huit kenyans, récemment libérés après avoir passé huit années derrière les barreaux éthiopiens, racontent ce qu’ils ont subi et qu’ils comparent au “Guantanamo” des américains …. // Back from the ‘African Guantanamo’

After spending eight years behind bars in Ethiopian jails for presumed links with the terrorist Al Qaeda network, eight Kenyans speak out about their terrible ordeal.

After being secretly detained in Ethiopia for more than one year, eight Kenyans were allowed to return home. These men were arrested in January of last year soon after the collapse of the Islamic courts in Somalia.

Accused of being members of Al Qaeda, they were detained without being officially charged of any crime, and were not allowed to contact a lawyer before being sent to Ethiopia. Thirty three year old Kassim Moussa, returns to his village of Bongwe, 30 km south of Mombasa. He lost everything and can only now help his parents to cultivate their land.

Today Kassim Moussa’s father explains to the village how he had no news about his son or his whereabouts for over a year. The meeting is organised by the Muslim forum for human rights who accuses the Kenyan government of deporting illegally its own citizens. All these ex-detainees are telling the same story. They recount how they remained handcuffed and blindfolded for months.

Bashir Hussein shows wounds he says he incurred while being detained by Ethiopian soldiers and also while he was interrogated by CIA agents. These accusations have been denied by the Ethiopian government. Some ex-detainees had to be admitted to hospital upon their arrival here. The Muslim forum for human rights have gathered their testimonies in order to sue the Kenyan government but Kenyan authorities still consider that their innocence has not yet been proven

By Stéphanie Braquehais, Athanas Makundi
and Joseph Mwihia,
F24 correspondents in Kenya