Cape Town – CAGE Africa calls for the immediate release of Omar Awadh Omar and four others – 2 Kenyans and 2 Ugandans – from arbitrary arrest in Uganda, where they were recently acquitted for alleged involvement in the 2010 bombing of a nightclub in Kampala during the Football (Soccer) World Cup.

After their acquittal by a Ugandan court due to lack of evidence linking them to the 2010 event, the five men were on their way back to collect their personal belongings from prison, when their bus was intercepted and they were re-arrested.

The five have now been recharged with fresh allegations of terrorism. This recent development is in violation of the rule of law, and has caused intense distress to their families who just hours before were celebrating their freedom.

The five men – Omar, Mohammed Hamid Suleiman, Abubakaer Batemyeto, Dr Ismail Kalule and Yahaya Suleiman Mbuthia – were among seven people kidnapped in Kenya and illegally renditioned to Uganda to the Ugandan Rapid Response Unit, notorious for torture and killing.

Omar has detailed in the British press how he was physically tortured, subjected to mock executions and sexual humiliation. Importantly, he identified American and British agents among his interrogators.

Omar’s lawyers have also filed a case against the British government for complicity in torture.

Moazzam Begg, CAGE outreach director, said:

“Omar Awadh and others were all questioned by UK and US intelligence services, even as the inquiry into allegations of complicity in torture against the British intelligence services was
underway. The fight for justice for the Kenyan rendition victims continues as the US war machine increases its presence in the Horn of Africa.”

Feroze Boda, member of CAGE Africa, said:

“The re-arrest and charging of persons immediately after being acquitted is nothing less than serial incarceration – a strategy to continue keeping innocent people in custody notwithstanding their acquittal, under the pretext that they are facing fresh or new charges. CAGE Africa calls for the immediate release of Omar and others, under the rule of law.”

“There are still serious questions surrounding allegations of British and American complicity in torture in Omar’s case, and one cannot outlaw the very real possibility that his re-arrest and arbitrary detention is being orchestrated from organs outside the Ugandan government.”

Omar’s wife, Rabia Omar, said:

“This has been a very trying few days as all the families were very excited of their release only for them to be taken in again.”

“Insha’Allah, we hope they will be re-united with their families soon, and they can enjoy Ramadhan in the comfort of their homes and with their families.”

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)