Kenyan opposition figure says still held in airport toilet

Raila Odinga, Miguna Miguna, James Orengo
The Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Kenyan opposition politician said Wednesday he was still detained in a “filthy toilet” at the country’s main airport after he refused an attempt to deport him.

Authorities were in contempt after the High Court on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Miguna Miguna and his court appearance Wednesday morning, said James Orengo, a lawyer for the politician.

Miguna was deported to Canada last month in a crackdown on politicians who attended the mock inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga to protest President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election. A court later ordered that Miguna’s Kenyan passport be restored and that he be allowed to return.

However, when he returned on Monday to Nairobi’s international airport plainclothes officers tried to hustle him onto an outbound plane, witnesses said. That failed when Miguna protested.

Early Wednesday, Miguna posted a statement on social media saying he remained “detained inside a tiny and filthy toilet” in one of the terminals.

Lawyer Japheth Mutinda, representing Kenya’s attorney general, said Miguna could not appear in court because his entry into the country was still being processed. Justice George Odunga ordered authorities to ensure Miguna’s safe passage and make sure he appeared in court in the afternoon.

The judge also ordered the interior minister, the immigration permanent secretary and the police chief to appear and explain why they disregarded court orders.

The airport confrontation came two weeks after a surprise meeting between opposition leader Odinga and Kenya’s president as they announced a new initiative to heal the East African nation after months of sometimes deadly election turmoil.

Odinga had argued that Kenyatta lacked legitimacy because his initial Aug. 8 re-election victory was nullified by the Supreme Court over “irregularities and illegalities.” The repeat election had a low turnout as Odinga boycotted it, citing a lack of electoral reforms.

Miguna was at Odinga’s side when he took an oath as the “people’s president” at the mock inauguration. The government responded by arresting opposition politicians.

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