US Senate report on CIA torture reveals Kenya role
Kenyan authorities were involved in renditioning terror suspects to Somalia from where a torture interrogation programme ran by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was secretly conducted.
A US Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture carried out by the CIA during interrogations revealed that some of the terror suspects arrested in Kenya for involvement in bombings had been “disappeared” only to be taken to Somalia by plane.
The report released on Tuesday says America’s CIA officials covertly ran a torture centre within the premises of Somalia’s National Security Agency headquarters in Mogadishu. This was where suspects captured in Kenya who the CIA thought had contacts with either Al-Shabaab or al-Qaeda were housed.
“The prison is staffed by Somali guards, but CIA officials pay the salaries of the officials and ‘directly interrogate’ detainees, who include individuals rendered from Kenya to Mogadishu by the CIA,” the document states.
One of the alleged inmates of the “prison” was Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, a Kenyan who authorities had suspected of having a strong association with global terror organisation al-Qaeda. He was arrested in 2009 in Nairobi but disappeared shortly after.
Two years later, a former fellow inmate of Hassan would recount how Hassan had reported being tied up and flown to Mogadishu from where he was “interrogated by Somalis and ‘white men’ constantly after his arrival”.
The Kenyan government had earlier indicated it was not aware of his whereabouts.
Kenya is said to have handed over Suleiman Abdallah, a Tanzanian national. Abdallah, thought to have been involved in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, had been arrested in Mogadishu in 2003 by a warlord who would receive money as a result.
He is said to have been handed over to the CIA through Kenyan authorities and was later moved to Djibouti.
Later, he was jailed in Afghanistan in American prisons housed there. Kenya had previously argued it extradited him so he could face charges over the bombings. However, the suspect was not formally charged throughout his detention.
The report which has been released by the US Senate Intelligence Committee details many of the torture practices that started after the September 11 attacks in the US. It details how CIA agents used “enhanced interrogation”, a form of forcible extraction of information from suspects by exerting pain.
Kenya’s involvement is said to have been through arresting and handing over suspects.
Human rights activists had previously criticised the government when it extradited a number of Kenyans to face trial in Uganda following the bombing in 2010 in which 74 football fans died at a Kampala night club watching the World Cup final.
The details of the torture programme in Somalia were first reported by America’sNation newsmagazine. It talked of inmates being locked in 24 hrs a day, staying in infested rooms and some having been detained there for more than a year.