Africa

UAE businesswoman sues Kenya over 'rendition'

  • 14 September 2015
  • From the section Africa
Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni Image copyright Redress
Image caption Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni says she was interrogated by FBI agents in Ethiopia

A court in Kenya has begun hearing a case filed by a United Arab Emirates (UAE) woman who says she was seized by Kenyan special forces, taken to Somalia and Ethiopia, and tortured.

Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni says she was accused of being an al-Qaeda agent while on trip to Kenya in 2007.

Ms Tuweni was released without charge after being detained for 72 days, and was given no reason for her detention.

The head of Kenya's Anti-Terrorism Police Unit denies the allegations.

The case has now been adjourned until 29 October.

Ms Tuweni is suing the Kenyan government for financial compensation and is demanding a formal apology for her treatment.

Frequently breaking down in tears as she gave evidence to the court in Nairobi via video-link from London, Ms Tuweni said that she needed money to pay for medical help, according to Kenyan rights group Journalists for Justice, whose representative was present at the hearing.

Documents submitted for the case stated that Ms Tuweni was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after she was "mentally and physically tortured" during her detention.

Her ability to make a livelihood had been dealt "a fatal blow" by her ordeal, and she had lost the trust of business contacts as a result, the documents added.

Ms Tuweni was born in Zanzibar, but is now a UAE citizen and no longer holds Tanzanian citizenship.

Image copyright JFJ
Image caption Ms Tuweni gave evidence via video-link from London

The Kenyan police deny all the allegations, and "have no records" of Ms Tuweni or her colleagues being taken into custody, according to an affidavit by Kenya's Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU).

According to UK-based campaign group Redress, she was beaten throughout her time in captivity, threatened with rape and narrowly escaped being sold for drugs.

Ms Tuweni, and two of her business colleagues, were arrested in the Kenyan resort town of Malindi near Mombasa.

On her arrival at the police station in Nairobi, an officer greeted her, saying: "Welcome, al-Qaeda", she told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme on Monday.

"I want them to pay for what I've been through for all these years because of them. I don't know why they put me there in the first place," she said.

Her colleagues, from Oman, were released after being questioned but she says she was taken to Somalia, where she was kept in a cell along with 21 other people.

After fighting escalated in Mogadishu, she says she was transferred to Ethiopia.

In Addis Ababa, she says she was interrogated by FBI agents, and eventually released without charge.

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