Kenya: Lawmaker alleges torture in detention, govt accused of persecution

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenyan opposition lawmaker, Babu Owino, was freed Thursday after spending four days in detention, where he alleged the Police used torture and other cruel means to intimidate him.

The Opposition politician and student leader at the University of Nairobi, Owino, whose official name is Paul Ongili, was arrested for calling President Uhuru Kenyatta "son of a dog", which earned him a charge of subversion.

Before his freedom on Thursday, Police battled University of Nairobi students on the streets of the capital with teargas and water cannons as the protesters demanded freedom for Owino, the President of the Student Union (SONU).

Owino was charged on Tuesday with the offence of causing disaffection against the Presidency over his remarks. He was consequently released on Wednesday but arrested immediately before leaving the court compound.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga criticised Wednesday's re-arrest of Owino, Member of Parliament, saying it marked the return of torture and state persecution of opposition politicians.

The fiery politician was addressing supporters of the National Super Alliance (NASA) in Nairobi on Sunday when he said Kenyatta should be prepared to face a civilian revolution similar to those which removed the former Libyan leader Moummar Gaddafi, Laurent Gbagbo and Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia.

His lawyer, James Orengo, said in court, the charges did not amount to much because the term Presidency did not refer to any person or office holder in particular but included almost everyone who works at the President's office.

Odinga said the National Super Alliance was deeply disturbed about the decision of the State to re-arrest Owino, MP for Nairobi's Embakasi East, shortly after his release on bail.

"We are concerned that the State is resorting to persecution, banditry and torture tactics where application and observation of the rule of law would suffice," Odinga said in a statement.

Owino was arrested again shortly after the judge allowed him go free on US$ 5,000 bail and surety of another US$ 10,000.

The Kenyan lawmaker was re-arrested to face charges related to a power-struggle at the University of Nairobi, where a rival student camp accused him of using violence.

Odinga said there was no justification whatsoever why the State did not consolidate its cases against the Hon Babu Owino and present them in court at once.

"The re-arrest of the MP is an act of intimidation of Members of Parliament with a view to having them toe the line of the Executive," Odinga said.

Odinga said his alliance condemns this trend and demands that it stops immediately. "We call on President Kenyatta to lead the way in ensuring the rule of law is adhered to and that the State does not abuse and use the courts to intimidate legislators and all citizens."
-0-PANA AO/VAO 28Sept2017

28 september 2017 14:48:56

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