Allegations FBI and British Intelligence Tortured Kenyan Rendition Victim
Tuesday 23 August 2011
by: Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout | News Analysis
According to an August 17 article in The Guardian UK, lawyers representing Omar Awadh Omar, a Kenyan used car salesman who was kidnapped off the streets of
Mr. Awadh has been charged with involvement in the July 2010
Soon after the bombings, three Kenyan nationals were illegally rendered to
According to the court claim, as described by Ian Cobain of The Guardian UK, "the Americans punched, slapped, threatened and sexually humiliated Awadh while questioning him about alleged connections with Islamist militants in east
Last year, Gutteridge reported much the same about abuse meted out to Awadh, noting that after six months in prison, he did not know the nature of the charges against him. In fact, Awadh's attorneys state that FBI and British agents, who began interrogating him immediately after his rendition, wanted him to name British individuals with purported links to
Dean Boyd, spokesman for the National Security Division of the US Department of Justice, responded to my email query on the Omar case last April. "The
Boyd admitted "the
According to Awadh's wife, her husband has been refused medication for a kidney problem. In addition, he has been ferried back and forth between Luzira Maximum Security Prison and the headquarters of the Ugandan police paramilitary group, Rapid Response Unit (RRU), for repeated interrogations.
There is also evidence that some of Awadh's torture has been psychological in nature. According to Cobain, "During his fourth session, Awadh says he was shown a series of pictures depicting a woman in a swimsuit, the same woman looking into a mirror which gave the impression she was overweight and the same woman on a drip [intravenous], before being asked a series of bewildering questions. He says he was also punched in the back during this session."
New Guantanamos in
Gutteridge noted last year, "Omar Awadh's case raises serious concerns that the FBI is running - with British complicity - what is essentially a sort of decentralised, outsourced Guantánamo Bay in Kampala, under the cloak of legitimate criminal process." According to Cobain, the FBI was responsible for "most of the mistreatment" of Awadh. Meanwhile, British lawyers "are demanding that the government disclose any information it holds that supports their claim that 'the UK Security and Intelligence Services have become mixed up in serious wrongdoing'."
The Kenyan renditions to
According to his bio at The Soufan Group, FBI agent Don Borelli led a 60-person team to Uganda in July 2010 "to assist the Uganda Police Force in their investigation" of the Kampala bombings, "the largest FBI deployment since the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen."
Only two days prior to Omar's kidnapping off the streets of
Mureithi was released after three days, while Kimathi, despite protests from human rights organizations, remains in prison.
According to James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Kenyan actions "represented a flagrant attempt to silence legitimate inquiries into human rights abuses committed in
The RRU itself was singled out in a special 59-page report by Human Rights Watch last April. Entitled "Violence Instead of Vigilance: Torture and Illegal Detention by Uganda's Rapid Response Unit," the report detailed a pervasive pattern of abuse.
The unit's personnel typically operate in unmarked cars, wear civilian clothing with no identifying insignia and carry a variety of guns, from pistols to larger assault rifles. The unit's members have on some occasions transported suspects in the trunks of unmarked cars.
Human Rights Watch also found that the unit routinely uses torture to extract confessions. Sixty of 77 interviewees who had been arrested by RRU told Human Rights Watch that they had been severely beaten at some point during their detention and interrogations....
Detainees were beaten on the joints with batons over the course of several days while handcuffed in stress positions with their hands under their legs. Human Rights Watch also found that RRU personnel regularly beat detainees with batons, sticks, glass bottles, bats, metal pipes, padlocks, table legs and other objects. In rare instances, the unit's officers inserted pins under detainees' fingernails or used electric shock torture.
In a October 19, 2009, State Department cable from Ambassador Jerry Lanier, US Embassy in Kampala, to Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Johnnie Carson, released by WikiLeaks earlier this year, the RRU was singled out along with a number of other "para-military outfits" about which there are "numerous, credible allegations of unlawful detention and torture."
The State Department cable also outlined
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