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KHCR sues state over Kenyans held in South Sudan

Kenya Human Rights Commission has sued the state protesting the sentencing of four Kenyans in neighbouring South Sudan.

The rights group has also accused the government of hiding crucial information from families of the four Kenyans sentenced to life in prison five months ago, for theft of billions of shillings from the South Sudanese government.

KHCR has sued foreign Affairs cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed, her Principal Secretary and the Attorney-General Githu Muigai following the jailing of Anthony Mwadime, Ravi Ramesh, Boniface Muriuki and Anthony Keya Munialo, in June.

According to KHRC, the arrest and detention of the four in a military installation was oppressive and a violation of their rights contrary to the Constitution of Kenya, that of South Sudan and International laws.

KHRC who has sued on behalf of the families of the four, accused the government of failing to act appropriately to protect them, considering the manner in which they were treated and the fact that their relatives were allegedly not aware of the fate of their beloved ones.

“KHRC will show this court that the primary duty of any government is to safeguard the life, limb and property of all its citizens wherever they may be found and that the sued parties are enough instruments as well as judicial forums to follow up such a matter,” said their lawyers.

The four are formerly employees of a company known as Click Technologies limited owned by John Ogou, a politician and brother-in-law of South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

They were arrested on May 29, 2015 by the National Security Service of the government of South Sudan together with Mr Peter Muriuki Nkonge who has since been released.

In the case documents, Mr Ramesh’s father and brother sought to know his whereabouts from the said firm’s offices on June 6, 2015.

However, they claimed that they were threatened and advised to fly back to Kenya.

They wrote to the foreign affairs ministry to seek assistance and were only told that the matter would be looked into.

The families of all the four agreed to pursue the matter together and were advised in an August 4, 2015 meeting, to give the South Sudan government time to conclude the matter with a promise that the Kenyan government would help them procure legal representation.

On February 20, the four were to be released on a cash bail of Sh1.4 million each, but their lawyer dropped the case for fear of his life after being allegedly threatened at gun point as well as a defence witness.

KHRC alleged that it has never been made clear to their relatives why the four were arrested and subsequently sentenced.

But further enquires revealed that they were accused of defrauding the government of South Sudan Sh20 million.

“It has been impossible for the families to obtain court records, engage the accused persons and have been forced to rely on media reports for information, they are extremely apprehensive that there was no fair hearing and equality before the law,” their lawyer said.

KHRC wants the state compelled to release that information and a declaration be made that the sentence granted to them is unlawful as per the Kenyan Constitution, South Sudan laws as well as international law.

The case will be heard on Friday.

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