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Kenya Deports Somalis Without Trial
Bashir Makhtal's family say he is a business man, not an Islamic Courts fighter
Nairobi, February 16, 2007 – More than 50 people have been arrested in Kenya, near the Somali border and deported without court hearings, Mohammed Adow, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Nairobi, has reported.
Bashir Makhtal, a Canadian citizen, and his wife's uncle were among those arrested last month and sent back to Somalia.
The family said the two men had fled the fighting in Somalia but the Kenyan government sent the men back without a court hearing or a chance to appeal. Aziza
Osman, Bashir's wife, said: "My husband is innocent. He is a businessman. He was running away from the violence when he was arrested.
"The Kenyan authorities wrongfully deported him. I don't know whether he is still alive and well. My plea is that he be returned safely to me."
The Kenyan authorities said her husband was with about 100 Union of Islamic Courts fighters and their families who tried to illegally cross the frontier.
Adow said: "So far, half of these people, including women and children, have been forced back to Mogadishu."
A four-year-old girl was held in police custody for thirty days before being released, he added.
Within days of the arrests, lawyers turned up at the Nairobi high court to argue their clients' cases but all the government provided was a passenger manifest.
More than 50 people were put on a plane and flown out of Kenya before the courts could act.
Speaking about the status of the Somalis as refugees, Alfred Mutua, a Kenya government spokesman, said: "The Kenyan government is not aware of any conflict that is posing a danger to the lives of the people of Somalia.
"If you go to Mogadishu today, if you go to Baidoa and others, you're not seeing bodies on the streets, you're seeing people continuing with their daily lives.
"And Somalia has a government - the transitional government of Somalia that is in control of the situation."
One of the lawyers for the deportees, Harun Ndubi, strongly disagrees.
Ndubi said: "The international refugee law, the Geneva convention, has been broken by Kenya. The international human rights law has been broken.
"There is international customer law that has been broken also by the Kenya government taking people ... who are likely to be executed, taking them back, without the judicial process which they are entitled [to] wherever in the world they are."
Kenyan Muslims often feel victimized by what the government says is a campaign against terrorism, Adow said.
Aziza and her mother said they have heard no word from their loved ones since their deportation.
They join a lengthening list of people angry and frustrated with their government's actions.
Source: Al Jazeera
Aziza Osman, left, said she had not heard from her husband since he was deported