Police hold 5 foreigners who cleared jail terms at Kasarani cell
What you need to know:
- The five, a United Kingdom national, three Rwandese and a minor of Somali origin are locked up at the Kasarani police station in Nairobi waiting for the day they will be sent back to their home country.
- It remains unclear why they are still locked up in police cells, which is not only against the Kenyan law that states that a person should be held by the police for only 24 hours.
- Director of Immigration Alex Muteshi said that there were ongoing operations against illegal immigrants “hence there will be no time when police cells will be free of foreigners who are supposed to be repatriated”.
Police have been holding foreigners who are supposed to be deported, including a minor, in a cell for months after they cleared their jail terms.
The five, a United Kingdom national, three Rwandese and a minor of Somali origin are locked up at the Kasarani police station in Nairobi waiting for the day they will be sent back to their home country.
It remains unclear why they are still locked up in police cells, which is not only against the Kenyan law that states that a person should be held by the police for only 24 hours.
For the Rwandans, it is also against the East African Community (EAC) policy that one has the right to travel to any country in the region as long as they have an identity card of their country of origin.
When the Sunday Nation this week visited the station, the foreigners revealed that the experience in the cells was worse compared to the one they went through at the Kerugoya Prisons in Kirinyaga County.
The Rwandese — Mr Gaspard Ukwizagira, Vincent Mushimimana and Ananias Syzikeye — have stayed in the cells longer than they stayed in prison.
“We have stayed inside this cells for six months compared to prison where we spent three months only and from the look of things we are not leaving this place anytime soon,” Mr Syzikeye told the Sunday Nation, adding that for all that time he has never taken a shower.
According to him, for the whole time they have been staying at the station they have been hopeful that one day some saviour will walk in and demand that they be released.
The three were arrested on July 27, 2018 in Baricho, Kirinyaga County, as they were hawking in the busy town. Their mistake? They were engaging in business without permits.
“We agree that we committed a mistake and served time in jail but surely what are we still doing inside a police cell six months later? Is it really fair?” he posed.
They said that they have been spending their time either seated or lying flat inside the rough floor of their cell, which also has a stench that emanates from a bucket which serves as a toilet.
Mr Suzikeye said that life in prison came with a number of benefits compared to that in the dark cells.
“In prison we have mentorship classes, one can train on a course of one’s choice unlike here where we are fully wasting our time,” he said, adding that they survived on one plate of food a day.
Mr Syezikeye regrets why he decided to join his two other friends in the country after they assured him that he would make a lot of money from hawking.
“We have never even spoken to our relatives and probably they might be thinking that we died a long time ago,” he said.
The Sunday Nation has established that the Rwandan Embassy was informed about the matter three weeks ago but so little has been done to assist the three.
In the same cell and undergoing through the same predicament is a 15-year-old minor who was first arrested on September 9, 2018 in Eastleigh and booked at the Pangani police station.
His uncle Mr Abdul Kadir said that he was later taken to court and sent to the Juvenile prison in Kamiti until March 15 when he was brought to the station.
“It was even hard to trace the boy but we were later directed to the Kasarani police station where we found him,” said Mr Kadir.
He said that he was still shocked that Kenya was planning to repatriate the minor to Somalia, a land he claims he has never set foot on.
He claims that the boy was born in Wajir and came to the city after his parents died. Just like the Rwandese, the family of the minor also hopes that once he is repatriated to Somalia they can catch up with him. The Somalia Embassy never commented on the matter when contacted.
In the same cell is Auma Saed Alen from the United Kingdom who says that he was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) after he misplaced his passport and travel documents.
Mr Alen also hopes that soon he will be let free and go back to his home country. Mr Robinson Mboloi said that they were waiting for the immigration department to prepare their travel documents.
“The role of the police is to provide escort. We are also waiting for the Immigration department to prepare the travel documents,” he said.
Director of Immigration Alex Muteshi said that there were ongoing operations against illegal immigrants “hence there will be no time when police cells will be free of foreigners who are supposed to be repatriated”.
“It is the duty of the department to ensure that they prepare their travel documents and also procure their air ticket if they don’t have one,” he said.