Africa

Kimathi: 'I was framed over Kampala World Cup attacks'

Al-Amin Kimathi outside court in January 2010
Image caption Al-Amin Kimathi, who was released on Monday after spending a year in jail, opposed illegal rendition

A Kenyan human rights activist held for a year in Uganda over the 2010 Kampala World Cup bombing has told the BBC he was framed by Kenya's government.

"It was pay-back time for my previous human rights defence of victims of extraordinary rendition," Al-Amin Kimathi said.

A Ugandan court dropped charges against Mr Kimathi and four others on Monday.

Two Ugandans have since pleaded guilty to involvement in the suicide bombings that killed at least 76 people.

Somalia's Islamist al-Shabab group said it carried out the bombings in Uganda's capital, Kampala, because Uganda had sent troops to Somalia.

Before his arrest in September 2010, Mr Kimathi, the head of the Muslim Human Rights Forum, had accused Kenya and Uganda of illegal rendition - arresting suspects in Kenya and sending them to Uganda without due process.

He was detained last year after going to Uganda to advise people he said had been illegally extradited.

The prosecution said they dropped the charges against the human rights activist and four other suspects because of a lack of evidence.

Mr Kimathi told the BBC's Focus on Africa that during his questioning it was confirmed that Kenya had organised his arrest.

"I have firm evidence that it [Kenya's government] did set me up. My interrogators - senior Ugandan security officers - they told me clearly," he said.

He said his year in Uganda had been a "harrowing experience".

"We underwent great psychological torture - we were not physically tortured but this, I believe, was deliberately planned to be a psychologically torturous exercise."

But he said it had made him more determined.

"You are looking at a more committed human rights defender than you saw last year," he said.

'Brainwashed'

On Tuesday, 14 other suspects appeared before the High Court in Kampala, all but two rejected all charges, including murder and terrorism.

Image caption A restaurant was one of the venues targeted by the bombers

Edris Nsubuga pleaded guilty to three counts of terrorism, including the "intention to unlawfully deliver and discharge an explosive".

Muhamoud Mugisha pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism".

During extra-judicial hearings last year, Mugisha said he had links with al-Qaeda, while Nsubuga said he had been brainwashed and he regretted his involvement in the attacks.

In July last year, suicide bombers attacked a bar and restaurant in Kampala where people had gathered to watch the football World Cup final on TV.

Uganda and Burundi are the only countries to have sent troops to Somalia to help the UN-backed government in its fight against the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab, which controls much of the war-torn country.

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