Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student


Cleric to stay in Kenyan jail

NAIROBI, Kenya – A radical Muslim cleric whose teachings influenced one of the 2005 London bombers will stay in a Kenyan jail until authorities can send him home, Kenya’s immigration minister said Monday.

Otieno Kajwang said the Jamaica-born Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal was jailed because he is a threat to the country’s security. Kajwang said he issued the order that el-Faisal be held but declined to say for how long. Kenyan law allows police to hold suspects for 24 hours without charging them.

Britain has said that el-Faisal’s teachings heavily influenced one of the men who carried out the London bombings that killed 52 people. El-Faisal served four years in a British jail for inciting murder and stirring racial hatred by urging followers to kill Americans, Hindus and Jews.

“We are in a very difficult situation which we must tackle, but in the interest of the country we will not release him until we send him home,” Kajwang said.

Attempts to deport el-Faisal last week failed because he was denied a transit visa when he arrived in Nigeria en route to Gambia. Kajwang said by the time el-Faisal got to Nigeria, Gambian authorities had refused him entry because of the “bad publicity” surrounding his deportation.

Britain, South Africa, Tanzania and the United States have declined to grant el-Faisal a transit visa that would allow him to connect to flights to Jamaica.

Human rights activists have protested el-Faisal’s imprisonment, saying he was being held in jail without trial.

Al-Amin Kimathi, coordinator of the Muslim Human Rights Forum, asked the government to release el-Faisal to the custody of the Kenyan Muslim community until the government can deport him. He said el-Faisal’s detention is proof of anti-Muslim discrimination in Kenya and that el-Faisal had not committed any offense in Kenya.

Kimathi said el-Faisal has requested to be taken to Geneva, where he can take a connecting flight to Jamaica.

El-Faisal’s lawyer, Mbugua Mureithi, said his client’s rights had been violated because he has been denied legal representation. He said he had spoken via phone with el-Faisal, who complained that he was never served with deportation orders. Mbugua said he is seeking a court order to compel el-Faisal’s release.

Kajwang said the arrest was in no way a religious war.

“It is a war against an individual who we have good reason to exclude from Kenya,” he said.

Get stories like this in your inbox