A Kenyan court ruled on Wednesday that it has no jurisdiction in a case filed by Kenyan relatives of an alleged al-Qaida operative in U.S. custody, but suggested Kenyan law be changed to ensure the rights of such suspects.
Abdul Malik, also known as Mohamed Abdulmalik Abduljabar, is accused in the deadly 2002 bombing of a hotel in Kenya in which 15 people were killed. U.S. officials announced in March he had been transferred to U.S. custody and sent to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but the exact circumstances of his capture and transfer were never revealed.
Soon after the U.S. announcement, relatives filed a case demanding Malik be produced in court here to determine whether he was lawfully detained.
High Court Judge Jacton B. Ojwang said Wednesday he had no jurisdiction to order Malik be brought to court. Ojwang also declined to order Internal Security Minister John Michuki and anti-terrorism police chief Nicholas Kamwende, among other officials, to testify in court and produce records of any correspondence between Kenya and the U.S. regarding Malik.
But Ojwang said Malik's rights had been infringed, and recommended that a law be enacted to regulate "the exercise of executive discretion to take Kenyans away from the jurisdiction of local courts," to ensure the rights of suspects are safeguarded in future.
Lawyer Harun Ndubi, representing the family, said he will file an application on whether Malik's constitutional rights have been violated following Ojwang's ruling.
"We still have a chance," he said.
In October, police told the court that they arrested Abdul Malik in February and released him after 14 days.
An East Africa al-Qaida network is blamed for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 225 people, as well as the car bomb hotel attack in which Malik is implicated. The hotel attack was accompanied by a near-simultaneous, failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner.