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Kenya: Arbitrary arrest / fear of ill-treatment / fear of refoulement

, Index number: AFR 32/041/1997

More than 80 Rwandese nationals including: Emmanuel Bizimana, Speciose Kayitesi (f), Appollinaire Kanyenzi and his wife, Alfred Munyandekwe, Moise Ntunda, Bertrude Mukasanga (f), Evariste Nyerengoga, Mediatrice Mukantagara (f), Marie-Therese Mbonabarigi, Chris Kabera, Straton Bizimana; several Burundi nationals, including a 40-year-old woman: There is concern at reports that more than 80 Rwandese nationals were arbitrarily arrested by Kenyan police between 18 and 21 July 1997. Their arrests follow the arrest of seven other Rwandese in Nairobi at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on suspicion of having played a role in the genocide there in 1994. However, the 80 who were arrested are not known to face similar accusations and there is concern that they may be subject to ill-treatment in detention and possible deportation to Rwanda where they would be at risk. Several Burundi nationals were also reportedly arrested.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 32/41/97
UA 229/97 Arbitrary arrest / fear of ill-treatment /
fear of refoulement 22 July 1997
KENYAMore than 80 Rwandese nationals including:
Emmanuel Bizimana
Spéciose Kayitesi (f)
Appollinaire Kanyenzi and his wife
Alfred Munyandekwe
Moise Ntunda
Bertrude Mukasanga (f)
Evariste Nyerengoga
Médiatrice Mukantagara (f)
Marie-Thérèse Mbonabarigi
Chris Kabera
Straton Bizimana
Several Burundi nationals, including a 40 year-old woman
More than 80 Rwandese nationals are reported to have been arbitrarily arrested
by the Kenyan police between 18 and 21 July 1997. There are fears that they
could be subjected to ill-treatment in detention. As the Kenyan authorities
appear to be cracking down on Rwandese refugees, they may also face deportation
to Rwanda where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations.
Between 30 and 40 of the Rwandese, including those named above, were reportedly
arrested in their homes in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on 18 July. They are
reportedly detained at Buru Buru Police Station. They are not known to have
been formally charged. The whereabouts of the others are not known.
Several Burundi nationals were also reportedly arrested. There are unconfirmed
reports that some have since been released. One 40 year-old Burundian woman,
suffering from ill-health, was arrested on 21 July along with her eight year-old
son, Kenny Muhoza. Her son was reportedly found abandoned in the street later
the same night.
These arrests occurred soon after seven other Rwandese in Nairobi were arrested
on 18 July at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
(ICTR) on suspicion on having played a leading role in the genocide which claimed
as many as one million lives in Rwanda in 1994. These seven, who include senior
members of the former government of Rwanda, have since been transferred to
the ICTR’s detention centre at Arusha, in Tanzania.
Sources in Nairobi indicate that the subsequent raids by Kenyan police and
arrest of more than 80 other Rwandese may have been motivated by a search for
several other individuals suspected of having played a leading role in the
genocide but who had escaped arrest. However, the 80 arrested are not known
to face accusations of involvement in the genocide and appear to have been
arrested arbitrarily.
The arrests of Rwandese refugees in Nairobi in the last few days followed a
visit to Kenya by Major-General Paul Kagame, Vice-President and Minister of
Defence of Rwanda.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
2
There has been a pattern of arbitrary arrests, detention without charge and
ill-treatment of refugees in Kenya over the last few years. Rwandese refugees
appear to be especially at risk. Amnesty International has received reports
of refugees from various countries - including Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia
and Somalia - being harassed, ill-treated or tortured by the Kenyan security
forces. Some have been deported against their will to their country of origin,
in apparent disregard of the human rights violations which they may face there.
Torture and ill-treatment in Kenyan detention centres is widespread and usually
takes place soon after arrest. Criminal suspects as well as political prisoners
have been tortured to extract confessions. Some have been held without charge
beyond the legal limit of 24 hours, or 14 days on suspicion of a capital charge,
and in harsh conditions.
Amnesty International welcomes the cooperation of the Kenyan authorities in
identifying and arresting individuals suspected of having played a critical
role during the genocide in Rwanda. However, the presence of such individuals
on Kenyan soil should not serve as a pretext for harassing and arbitrarily
arresting other Rwandese refugees who may not have participated in the genocide.
If forcibly returned to Rwanda, these refugees would face the risk of serious
human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention in
life-threatening conditions, ill-treatment, unfair trial and possibly the death
penalty. There are currently more than 110,000 people detained in Rwanda,
most on accusations of participation in the genocide. At least 60 have been
sentenced to death. Amnesty International has documented a significant
deterioration in the human rights situation in Rwanda since the start of 1997.
In addition to the human rights violations mentioned above, thousands of people
- many of them returnees from neighbouring countries - have been extrajudicially
executed; others have “disappeared”.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or your own language:
- expressing concern that more than 80 Rwandese nationals - including those
named above - and several Burundians are reported to have been arbitrarily
arrested since 18 July 1997, following the arrest of seven others at the request
of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda;
- welcoming the Kenyan authorities’ cooperation with the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda in identifying suspected perpetrators of the genocide but
stating that this should not serve as a pretext for ordering or condoning
arbitrary arrests;
- asking for information on the identity of the approximately 80 arrested,
their current whereabouts and whether there are any charges against them;
- calling for their immediate release unless they are promptly charged with
a recognizably criminal offence;
- asking for assurances that they are not being ill-treated and that they will
not be forcibly returned to Rwanda where they would be at risk of serious human
rights violations.
APPEALS TO:
Commissioner Duncan Wachira
Commissioner of Police, Police HQ
PO Box 30083, Nairobi, Kenya
3
Telegrams: Police Commissioner Wachira, Nairobi, Kenya
Faxes: +254 2 330495 (if no tone please try later)
Salutation: Dear Commissioner
Mr Amos Wako
Attorney General
PO Box 40112
Nairobi, Kenya
Telegrams: Attorney General Wako, Sheria, Kenya
Faxes: +254 2 211082
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
Mr Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Harambee Avenue, PO Box 30551
Nairobi, Kenya
Telegrams: Minister Foreign Affairs, Nairobi, Kenya
Faxes: +254 2 335494 or 214733
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
PO Box 59743
Nairobi, Kenya
Faxes: +254 2 562098
and to diplomatic representatives of KENYA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 2 September 1997.

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