Kenya's Westgate defendants 'tortured'

The wife of one of the defendants said her husband's injuries were severe.

Kenya's Westgate defendants 'tortured'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The lawyer and families of defendants on trial for suspected involvement in last year's deadly attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall say the accused have been tortured while in police custody.

"Today, the court was treated to a circus whereby the prosecutor informed the court that the accused persons had not been produced and that the doctor had recommended a ten-day bed rest," defense lawyer Chacha Mwita told Anadolu Agency.

The prosecutor suggested that the defendants be put on mandatory bed rest in the Kamiti Maximum Prison, where they are being held.

"The court insisted; after we told them that they [the defendants] were in the basement, they went to confirm if whatever we were saying was true," Mwita said.

"The court and the magistrate were shocked that the accused had been brought and were being hidden in the basement," added the lawyer, who had accompanied the judges.

"Looking at them and not being a medical practitioner, it sends shivers through my body," Mwita told AA, adding that the defendants had deep "cuts on their legs [and] hands."

"It definitely tells the violence that was visited upon them had malicious intentions," said Mwita.

"Somebody was trying to get revenge for unknown fears or hatred," he added. "Our clients say that they were scorned while being tortured."

The four defendants were arrested in October. Their trial began in January on charges of aiding Al-Shabaab militants and staying in Kenya illegally – charges they have since denied.

For the first time since the trial began, reporters were locked out of the holding area, thwarting efforts to document the defendants' condition.

Mwita said that the court should take urgent action after it had witnessed a blatant demonstration of impunity and contempt of court today.

The case has since been adjourned to October 3.

The wife of Adan Abdikadir Aden, one of the defendants, said her husband's injuries were severe.

"His leg was all swollen with cuts," Deka Barre told AA. "He told me they weren't giving him any medicine for his leg."

She, too, reported seeing "cuts all over the body."

"But what's worse is his swollen knee cap. He told me that officers at Kamiti Maximum Prison had done this to him," said Barre.

She criticized the authorities for "hiding" the suspects.

"They don't want… the media to show the injuries they have inflicted on them [the defendants] to the world," she told AA.

She insisted her husband – in prison since October – was innocent of the charges leveled against him.

"They're experiencing this because they're innocent; why not take them to court?" the distressed wife asked.

Last Mod: 24 Eylül 2014, 10:06
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