12 April 2014

Kenya: Foreign Envoys Allowed to Visit Kasarani Detainees

Nairobi — The Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo on Saturday morning took ambassadors from four countries on a tour of the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium, where people detained in the ongoing security crackdown are being held.

Kimaiyo said the envoys from the United Kingdom, United States, Uganda and Tanzania, saw firsthand the conditions the detainees are being held under.

"This morning, the ambassadors wanted to come and see the ongoing screening that has today entered its seventh day. For now we have screened over 600 people and this is purposely to remove criminals who are responsible for attacks that have been taking place in the country."

He said those with or without legal documents and have been living in the country have to undergo the process before they are released.

"Today morning officers arrested 62 people in Nakuru who alleged that they were going back to their refugee camp. So in a way they are running away because they are here illegally," Kimaiyo explained.

There has been widespread condemnation over the handling of the detainees, but Kimaiyo insists they are being held in proper conditions.

"These people are being treated in a humane way and even us we observe the human rights. I personally feel very bad when I see an officer molesting or mishandling another person."

"There is no way that we can do anything to harm anyone in our custody... the law is very clear. If anyone has a complaint then they ought to contact the relevant authorities to have investigations conducted," Kimaiyo urged.

But one of the refugees Mohammed Barre says that his efforts to prove he was legally in the country have fallen on deaf ears.

He says that even though he supports the operation, they are being held in unbearable conditions.

"I have a mandate from UNHCR for 10 years yet for eight days I have been in custody yet nobody is telling me why we are here. Even when I give the police the papers they still took me (into custody)."

"The operation makes sense because the security of Kenya is more important, but the conditions we are staying in are bad. We are sleeping on a cold floor that has urine and when it rains we are rained on because there is no roof over our heads," Barre explained.

"We urge the government of Kenya to hasten the screening process especially for those of us who have documentation that allows us to be in Kenya."

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