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Muslim cleric to be deported in 2 days: Kenya

Last Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 - 20:05

Nairobi: A Muslim cleric whose detention in Nairobi caused deadly riots on the streets of the capital is expected to be put on a plane back to Jamaica in the next two days, Kenya`s Foreign Minister said on Monday.
Initial efforts to deport Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal to his native Jamaica had been hampered by other nations` unwillingness to let him transit through their airports.

"We have managed to get a direct flight for Faisal back to Jamaica and he should be out of Kenya by 48 hours," Moses Wetangula told reporters, adding they had won the co-operation of two foreign countries, which he declined to name.

Police earlier arrested a prominent activist, Al-Amin Kimathi, chairman of Kenya`s Muslim Human Right Forum, in chaotic scenes as seven suspects appeared at Nairobi`s High Court accused of involvement in the riots that rocked the capital on Friday.

Another 150 suspects, including some members of the Somali Parliament, were charged in another court with being in the country illegally, a day after security forces raided a mainly Somali suburb of the city and arrested scores of people.

"What has happened to Al-Amin today is an attack on the rule of law and an attack on the judiciary," Mbugua Mureithi, Kimathi`s lawyer, said as the white-robed activist left the High Court in handcuffs, his arms raised above his head.

Earlier, the seven suspects had been charged with unlawful protest, theft and destruction of property.

Civil unrest in Kenya is particularly worrying following post-election violence in 2008 that killed some 1,300 people. Given the regional threat from Somali al Shabaab extremists seen as a proxy for al Qaeda, it is even more concerning for a nation that has in the past been hit by two al Qaeda-linked attacks.

Friday`s demonstration against the deportation of Faisal was organised by Kenyan Muslims, but many of the marchers who fought pitched battles with the security forces in the city centre for more than eight hours were Somalis.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, January 18, 2010 - 20:05

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