Kenyan activists take police to court over missing Muslim

Hameed Salim Hameed went missing after being detained by Kenyan security forces during a raid on Mombasa's Musa Mosque on February 2

Kenyan activists take police to court over missing Muslim

World Bulletin/News Desk

Two renowned Kenyan civil society activists have filed a habeas corpus in the High Court, demanding that police in the coastal city of Mombasa produce a Muslim worshiper who has been missing since early February when security men stormed a Mombasa mosque.

"The presiding judge is paying a lot of attention to our case," Okiah Omtatah, an activist with the Kenyans for Justice and Development, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday, shortly after a court hearing.

In Kenya courts sit on weekdays and not weekends.

"We want justice not only to be done, but to be seen to have been done," Omtatah asserted.

Together with Hussein Khalid, the director of Justice Africa, Omtatah is asking the court to compel police to produce Hameed Salim Hameed, a Muslim faithful who went missing after being detained by Kenyan security forces during a raid on Mombasa's Musa Mosque on February 2.

Street clashes between police and angry Muslim youth had left two youths and one police officer died.

At the time, police alleged that the preachers used the mosque to train and radicalize young Muslims for militant attacks.

But local leaders condemned police for violently dispersing the youths, and for entering the mosque in shoes.

On Saturday, Judge Edward Muriithi heard testimony from Owino Okute, a police constable in Mombasa.

He told the court he had handcuffed Hameed, put him in a vehicle which headed towards a police station, nearly 300 meters from the mosque.

Later, the court heard, Hameed went missing somewhere between the mosque and the police station.

During the hearing, the court allowed footage of a video of Hameed's arrest to be played after rejecting an application by two state counsels for it to be played in-camera.

Khalid, the rights activist, played the video, which he said was downloaded from YouTube.

It showed police arresting Hameed, dressed in a white vest and a trouser, before bundling him into a police vehicle.

The hearing was adjourned to March 10 when more witnesses are expected to testify.

Over the years, the mosque has been the epicenter of clashes been worshippers and security personnel.

In August of 2012, prominent and outspoken preacher Aboud Rogo, accused by the US of allegedly recruiting and fundraising for the Somali Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia, was shot dead by masked gunmen in Mombasa.

Less than a year later, a preacher believe to be Rogo's close confidant was gunned down in a similar attack.

Last Mod: 02 Mart 2014, 09:30
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