Reprieve and Cageprisoners are deeply concerned for the fate of 63 prisoners believed to be held in secret detention in Somalia and Ethiopia, apparent victims of a mass rendition operation from Kenya involving nationals of at least 16 states: Canada, Comoros, Ethiopia, Eritrea, France, Kenya, Oman, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sweden, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Yemen. Among the 63 are nine women and six children. The 63 were apparently transferred with no observance of any judicial process, and are at serious risk of torture.
Many of the victims were among hundreds of people arrested in a joint U.S., U.K. and Ethiopian operation on the Kenya/Somali border in December 2007 and January 2007. They were initially transferred to detention facilities in Kenya where they were held without charge for up to three weeks.
Reprieve and Cageprisoners believe that prisoners held in Kenya were visited repeatedly by foreign intelligence agents including the F.B.I. and the U.K. MI5, although none of them appear to have been given any consular assistance during that time.
The victims include 24 year old U.S. citizen Amir Mohammed Meshal, who Reprieve and Cageprisoners believe is currently being held in Ethiopia.
Four British citizens, Mohammed Ezzoueck, Reza Afsharzadagen, Shahajan Janjua and Hamza Chentouf were flown home by the British government on 13 February 2007, after being rendered from Kenya to Somalia with nine other foreign nationals. The fate of the others is unknown.
In January and February 2007, according to flight manifests secured by reprieve and Cageprisoners, 63 of these people were transferred to from Kenya to Somalia. There appears to have been no judicial oversight of these transfers. Individuals named on the manifest include nine children and four children ranging in ages from four to fifteen.
Reprieve and Cageprisoners believe that many of not all of the prisoners rendered from Kenya to Somalia are now in Ethiopia.
Kenyan Abdi Muhammed Abdillahi managed to phone his father and brother from Ethiopia in February 2007, saying that he and others in detention in Ethiopia were being tortured, and that some of the women had bee sexually assaulted by Ethiopian guards. He reported that he had intervened to save a pregnant woman from being assaulted by the guards.
Reprieve and Cageprisoners call on the governments of Canada, Comoros, Ethiopia, Eritrea, France, Kenya, Oman, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sweden, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, the United States and Yemen to extend immediate and effective consular assistance to their nationals in detention in Ethiopia and Somalia.
Reprieve and Cageprisoners urge the governments of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia to fully disclose all details of prisoners in their custody detained in connection with the recent events in Somalia, and to extend due process to all prisoners.
A British citizen held in Kileleshwa police station, Nairobi, in January and February 2007, told Reprieve:
“[The F.B.I.] took Amir the Egyptian American out. When he came back to the cell he was stressed and he had tears. He told me…they had said to him, “you know Allah is up there. Well we’re the F.B.I. and we are on the same level.” They said to him, “Amir, today is a hot day. I will put it very clearly to you. You are going to start getting tortured tomorrow if you don’t start coughing up information.”