Kenyan opposition figure says he was drugged when deported

  • 29 Mar 2018

A Kenyan opposition politician who government authorities deported in contravention of a court order said on Thursday he had been assaulted, drugged and dragged onto a flight to Dubai.

Miguna Miguna, a lawyer of dual Kenyan and Canadian citizenship, is seen through the glass door at the Jomo Kenyatta airport after he was detained by police in Nairobi, Kenya March 26, 2018, ( Reuters )

Kenyan opposition politician Miguna Miguna alleges he was drugged and deported to Dubai early on Thursday after his attempt to enter Kenya led to him being detained in an airport toilet for more than a day.

Miguna Miguna, targeted in a Kenyan government crackdown amid lingering election tensions, was sent to Dubai even after a court ordered authorities to release him, lawyer Cliff Ombeta said. Police at the airport roughed up lawyers and forced them to leave when they tried to serve the court order, said another lawyer, James Orengo.

National Resistance Movement’s General Miguna Miguna’s Statement from Dubai International Airport, posted on his Facebook page, March 29, 2018(AP)

Miguna said in a Facebook post that authorities broke into the Kenyan airport toilet where he had been held and forcibly injected him with a substance and he passed out. He said he regained consciousness when the Emirates Airline plane arrived in Dubai. Miguna wrote that he refused to leave the international section of the Dubai airport and he insisted that he must return to Kenya.

"I will and must return to Kenya as a Kenyan citizen by birth as various courts have ordered," wrote Miguna on Facebook.

There was no immediate response from Kenyan authorities, though Kenya's immigration department retweeted a post calling on the public to ignore a rumour that Miguna had been sedated or drugged.

The deportation ended the Nairobi airport drama in which Miguna posted from what he called "Toilet at Terminal 2," saying he had been detained in the "filthy" facilities at the country's main airport in Nairobi.

Contempt of court

Hours before he was deported, a High Court judge declared Kenya's interior minister, national police chief and permanent secretary for immigration in contempt of court for disregarding an order to immediately release Miguna, said another lawyer, Nelson Havi. Justice George Odunga ordered the officials to show up in court on Thursday morning or be jailed.

Miguna had been deported to Canada last month in a crackdown on politicians who attended the mock inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga to protest President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election. A court later ordered that Miguna's Kenyan passport be restored and that he be allowed to return.

However, when Miguna arrived on Monday at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, plainclothes officers tried to hustle him onto an outbound plane, witnesses said. That failed when he protested.

Detained in lavatory

Miguna later posted statements on social media saying he had been "detained inside a tiny and filthy toilet" in one of the terminals. "I have not eaten. I have not taken a shower. I have not been given access to my lawyers, family members and physicians."

Miguna could not appear in court as ordered because his entry into the country was still being processed, a lawyer representing Kenya's attorney general, Japheth Mutinda, told the court.

The airport confrontation came two weeks after a surprise meeting between opposition leader Odinga and Kenya's president as they announced a new initiative to heal this East African nation after months of sometimes deadly election turmoil.

Odinga had argued that Kenyatta lacked legitimacy because his initial August 8 re-election victory was nullified by the Supreme Court over "irregularities and illegalities." The repeat election had a low turnout as Odinga boycotted it, citing a lack of electoral reforms.

Miguna was at Odinga's side when he took an oath as the "people's president" at the mock inauguration. The government responded by arresting opposition politicians.