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Uganda
14.04.11
Urgent Interventions

Deportation of four Kenyan human rights defenders

URGENT APPEAL - THEOBSERVATORY

UGA 002 / 0411 / OBS 062

Arbitrary detention / Deportation

Uganda

April 14, 2011

The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Uganda.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sourcesabout the arbitrary arrest in Entebbe Airport in Kampala and the subsequentdeportation to Kenya of Mr. Samwel Mohochi, trustee of Kenya National Coalition of Human RightsDefenders and member of OMCT General Assembly, Mr. Hussain Khalid, member of Muslims for HumanRights (MUHURI), Mr. Muhdhar Khitamy, Chairman of the Coast province branch of theSupreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) and Mr. Hassan Omar Hassan, member of the Kenya NationalCommission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

According to theinformation received, on April 13, 2011, at 9 a.m., the four Kenyan humanrights defenders flying from Nairobi were arrested by immigration officers attheir arrival at Entebbe Airport in Kampala, Uganda, and detained there. Thefour individuals have reportedly not been interrogated, and no reason to theirdetention has been provided by the Ugandan authorities. At 3. p.m., they weredeported back to Nairobi. Their passports were given back to them, along with anotice from the Ugandan government stating that they were “prohibitedimmigrants”. They are now free, and no charge has reportedly been broughtagainst them.

The four human rights defenderswere reportedly travelling with four other Kenyan people, who have been allowedto enter the country. They were all flying to Kampala to meet with the ChiefJustice of Uganda, in order to discuss the case of Mr. Al-Amin Kimathi, a Kenyan human rights defender,Executive Director of the Kenyan Muslims Human Rights Forum (MHRF), who wasarrested in Uganda in September 15, 2010 and is now detained at the LuziraMaximum Security Prison.

The Observatory denounces thearbitrary arrest and deportation of the four Kenyan human rights defenders,since they seem to only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.

Background information:

Mr. Al-Amin Kimathi had beenarrested on September 15, 2010, along with Mr. Mbugua Mureithi, aKenyan human rights lawyer and Coordinator of the Litigation Fund AgainstTorture (LIFAT), as they were travelling to Kampala to attend a court hearingin connection with the Kampala bombings of July 11, 2010[1]. The trial was scheduled onSeptember 16. and Mr. Mureithi was to represent Kenyan civilians transferredfrom their country to Uganda for having allegedly participated in the bombings.Mr. Kimathi and the MHRF are known for denouncing the human rights violationsperpetrated in the name of the fight against terrorism in the East and Horn ofAfrica.

Mr. Murethi and Mr Kimanthi were takento the headquarters of the Ugandan Police's Rapid Response Unit in Kireka, asuburb of Kampala, and detained there. They were questioned by individuals incivilian clothing about alleged contacts with Al-Shabaab operatives, anislamist group which claimed responsibility in the terrorist bombingsperpetrated in Kampala on July 11, 2010.

On September 18, Mr. Mureithi was released andescorted to Entebbe to take a plane to Kenya in the morning. During hisdetention, Mr. Mureithi did not have access to a lawyer and was not allowed tomake any phone calls. Mr. Al-Amin Kimathi, whose laptop has been confiscated,remains in detention with no access to a lawyer and no authorisation to makeany phone call.

On September 20, Mr. Al-Amin Kimathi was broughtbefore the Nakawa Chief Magistrate's Court in Kampala and charged withterrorism, attempted murder and 89 counts of murder in relation to the July 11bombings. The Magistrate's court did not have jurisdiction to try him on thosecharges - murder and terrorism are capital offences - but the charges were readout to him and he was remanded to Luzira Maximum Security Prison.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Uganda, urging themto:

i. Repeal the notice from the Ugandangovernment stating that Messrs. Samwel Mohochi, Hussain Khalid, MuhdharKhitamy, Hassan Omar Hassana were “prohibited immigrants, to allow them toenter the country, so that they can meet with the Chief Justice of Uganda;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment againstall human rights defenders in Uganda ;

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physicaland psychological integrity of Mr. Al Amin Kimathi as well as of all humanrights defenders in Uganda;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the UnitedNations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with:

- Article 1, whichprovides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association withothers, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of humanrights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- Article6.a, which states that “everyone has the right,individually and in association with others: To know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all humanrights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as tohow those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative,judicial or administrative systems;

- Article 9.3 whichprovides that “everyone hasthe right, individually and in association with others, inter alia […] to attend public hearings, proceedings and trials so asto form an opinion on their compliance with national law and applicableinternational obligations and commitments; and to offer and provideprofessionally qualified legal assistance or other relevant advice andassistance in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms”,

- Article 12.2 whichstates that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure theprotection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and inassociation with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, defacto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitraryaction as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rightsreferred to in the present Declaration”.

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstancesthe respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with inaccordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and withinternational and regional human rights instruments ratified by Uganda.

Addresses:

· President Kaguta Yoweri Museveni,President of the Republic of Uganda, Office of the President of Uganda, StateHouse Nakasero, P.O. Box 24594, Kampala, Uganda. Fax: +256 (0) 414 436 102 / + 256 414235459 / +256 41 4344012. E-mail: museveni@starcom.co.ug /aak@statehouse.go.ug

· Hon. Dr. Edward Kiddhu Makubuya, Attorney General and Minister ofJustice and Constitutional Affairs, Ministry of Justice and ConstitutionalAffairs, Parliament Avenue, P.O.Box 7183, Kampala, Uganda. Fax: + 256 414250829. E-Mail: mojca@africaonline.co.ug

· Mr. Richard Buteera, Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry ofJustice, Constitutional Affairs & the Attorney General, Tel:+256-414-332-502/332-504, Fax: +256-414-258-565/341-316, Email: admin@dpp.go.ug

· Mr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Minister of Internal Affairs, Jinja Rd, PO Box7191, Kampala, Uganda. Fax: + 256 414343088

· Mr. Edward Kale Kaihura, Inspector General of Police, Telephone: +256(0) 712 755 999

· H.E. Mr. Maurice Peter Kagimu Kiwanuka, Permanent Mission of Ugandato the United Nations in Geneva, 6 bis rue Antoine Carteret, 1202 Genève,Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 340 70 30. Email:mission.uganda@ties.itu.int.

· Embassy of Uganda to the EU in Brussels, 317 avenue de Tervueren, 1150Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2.763.04.38. Email: ugembrus@brutele.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uganda in yourrespective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, April 14, 2011

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting thecode of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, isdedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer themconcrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax OMCT + 4122 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 331 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] See Observatory Urgent Appeal UGA 001 / 0910 / OBS 114.

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