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Muslim cleric spends sixth night in custody

BUSIA
By | January 18th 2010

By Cyrus Ombati

Controversial Jamaican cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal is still stuck in Nairobi.

Al-Faisal spent his sixth night at an undisclosed police cell after he was moved on Saturday from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where he had been held since Thursday.

Sources said Immigration officials plan to move to court this morning to swear an affidavit to show why Al-Faisal should not be produced in court and instead be deported.

The sources said the Government had found a way of deporting him, but a court order that was issued last week demanding he be produced in court on Thursday, restrained them.

"You know the court stopped his deportation but we want to swear an affidavit to show he is dangerous and seek a fresh deportation order tomorrow (today)," said our source, who sought anonymity.

The first attempt to deport Al-Faisal to his home country last week failed after an international airline declined to fly him because the US was yet to grant him transit visa.

The airline was to make a stopover in Geneva en route to Jamaica via Miami. This was after Switzerland agreed to grant the cleric a transit visa.

Al-Faisal had been moved from the Industrial Area Remand prison to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport police cells in readiness for deportation on Tuesday night, but that did not happen.

Impound aircraft

He was locked up at the remand prison after he was brought back from Nigeria last weekend. He was en route to Gambia where Kenya had deported him to when an airline in Lagos declined to fly him to Banjul.

But Gambia denied ever agreeing to accept him. The Gambian Government has threatened to impound any aircraft that will fly the preacher to the West African nation.

Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ said they will not release the cleric because he is a threat to security. He said the law allows them to commit to jail anyone who is rejected by a country and brought back to Kenya.

The minister said Kenya decided to arrest and deport Al-Faisal after his name appeared on the international terror watch list and would not take risks to release him.

Police first arrested the cleric at Nyali mosque in Mombasa on December 31.

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