Kamilya Mohammedi Tuwedi.

Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni

Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni was kidnapped by Kenyan counter-terrorism forces in 2017 after being mistaken for an Al-Qaeda operative. She was kept in secret detention in four different East African countries for more than two months, threatened with rape and beaten.

KAMILYA’S STORY

On 7 January 2007, Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni travelled from the United Arab Emirates, where she lives, to Kenya. Kamilya wanted to explore the possibility of starting a tea and coffee business in Oman.

Two days later, while staying in a hotel in the town of Malindi, Kamilya was arrested by armed men who said they were from the Kenyan Counter-Terrorism Force.

Kamilya was kept in squalid detention conditions for a week. Then, she was shuttled between four East African countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia) for two and half months.

During this time, Kamilya endured beatings, was asked for bribes, was threatened with rape and narrowly escaped being sold for drugs. Kamilya was also held in a jail full of holes in a war zone in Somalia while airstrikes were coming closer. She was afraid for her life given the sound of bombs falling and nearby gunfire.

Kamilya was released on 23 March 2007, in Ethiopia and was reunited with her family in the UAE on 25 March 2007. She had to arrange for her own ticket to fly home.

To this day, Kamilya does not know why she was arrested.

She was never charged with any crime and was never made aware of the reasons behind her detention, except for a hint she received from a Kenyan police officer, soon after arriving at the police headquarters in Nairobi, when she greeted her with a “Welcome, Al Qaeda”.

Kamilya believes she was apparently mistaken for an Al-Qaeda operative, as she was arrested in the context of a sweeping operation against Somali “terrorist suspects” that the Kenyan government orchestrated that year.

This operation took place during the so-called “War on Terror” in conjunction with the US.

It resulted in the rendition of nearly a hundred people from Kenya to Somalia, on the suspicion that they were involved in terrorist activities. Many human rights violations were committed during the operation.

A former employee of the telecommunications company Etisalat, Kamilya still suffers from nightmares about what happened, and finds it difficult to sleep as she feels very anxious.

Kamilya is also scared when she sees police officers and when she travels abroad. She has not been able to go back to work because her reputation has been damaged.

ACTION FOR JUSTICE

On 11 June 2009, Kamilya brought a claim before the Kenyan High Court for relief.

In her claim, Kamilya is seeking a clear finding of Kenya being responsible for her awful treatment.

Kamilya is seeking a formal apology from the Kenyan government as well as financial compensation for the violation of her rights while in the unlawful custody of Kenyan, Somali and Ethiopian authorities.

On 27 August 2014, the State filed an opposing affidavit denying responsibility.

The case was heard before the Kenyan High Court on 14 September 2015.

Kamilya gave evidence from London by video link to the court in Nairobi.

THE OUTCOMES

Case pending

QUICK FACTS

  • Case Name: Kamilya Mohammedi Tuweni v Kenya’s Commissioner of Police et al.
  • Court/Body: High Court of Kenya
  • Date Filed: 11 June 2009
  • Current Status: Case pending
  • Legal representation: REDRESS

 KEY WORDS

Affidavit – a written statement which is sworn to be true by the person signing it.