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Kenyan Police: No Evidence Linking Muslim Cleric to Terrorism - 2001-12-13


Kenyan police have released a Muslim cleric who was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of being involved in terrorism. Kenyan Muslims are accusing the authorities of using the war against terror as an excuse to settle their own political scores.

Sheikh Ahmed Hassan Mursal was arrested four days ago, reportedly on a tip from U.S. officials that he was wanted for terrorism. But police released him late Wednesday, saying they found no evidence to link him to terrorism.

Muslims in Kenya are blaming Mr. Mursal's arrest on a case of mistaken identity. They say Kenyan police were actually looking for Sheikh Ahmed Hassan Sweidan, who is wanted for the bombing U.S. embassy in Nairobi in 1998 that killed more than 200 people.

Ahmed Khalif, secretary-general of the supreme council of Kenya Muslims, says Muslims had told the police all along that they were making a mistake. "We told them from the very beginning that the person they arrested was not the person they were looking for," he stressed. "And now they have realized that it was a mistaken identity."

Mr. Khalif charges that Kenya's police, immigration authorities and politicians are all using the U.S. war against terror as an excuse to harass Muslims.

The Kenyan government, for its part, denies singling out any group in its fight against terrorism.

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