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Muslim Rights Group Protests Extraordinary Renditions to Ethiopia


A Muslim human-rights group held a small demonstration in downtown Nairobi to protest what it said was the rendition of at least 117 people from Kenya to Ethiopia as part of the U.S.-led war on terror. Nick Wadhams has the story from Nairobi.

The Muslim Human Rights Forum says the renditions have caught up dozens of Kenyans, Ethiopians, and Somalis who come from the border region between the three nations and have no connection to terrorism.

The group's chairman, Ali Amin Kimathi, says Kenya's alliance with the United States and Ethiopia in the pursuit of suspected terrorists in the Horn of Africa has led to gross violations of human rights.

"We have had so many people who have had their rights violated, locked up in jails in Kenya, locked up in several facilities by the mere fact of associations, alleged associations, with suspects of terrorism," said Kimathi. "What has been going on in this crackdown is a crackdown that targets anyone who is thought to have any connections with a suspect of terrorism, all right? That defies race, it defies religion or ethnicity."

After news reports exposed the practice, U.S. and Ethiopian officials acknowledged in April they had secretly detained terrorism suspects in the Horn of Africa. Critics were especially concerned because many were sent to Ethiopia, which has a history of human-rights abuses.

The roundup netted a 24-year-old American citizen, Amir Mohamed Meshal, who was detained in Kenya and later held in Ethiopia on allegations that he fought with radical Islamists in Somalia. Meshal was released in Ethiopia in May and he returned to the United States

The Muslim Human Rights Forum says the practice has continued despite public attention. Last month, it alleged that a Muslim man who had campaigned for the release of such suspects, Farah Mohammed Abdullahi, was abducted in Kenya and has not been heard from since. The man's brother was among those sent to Ethiopia.

Kenyan police say they have no record that Abdullahi was arrested.

The Muslim Human Rights Forum says it plans to file for an injunction in Kenyan court in a bid to stop the arrest and rendition of Kenyans.

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