Deported Kenyan opposition figure says ‘marooned’ in Dubai
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Kenyan opposition figure who claims he was drugged and forcibly deported to Dubai said Friday he was “marooned” at the airport there but intends to return to Kenya as soon as possible.
A Kenyan court on Thursday fined top officials including the interior minister and national police chief for failing to appear in court to explain the treatment of Miguna Miguna, who was targeted amid lingering election tensions. Earlier this year he stood beside opposition leader Ralia Odinga during a mock inauguration to protest President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.
Miguna later was deported to Canada but a Kenyan court ordered authorities to allow him back into the country. His attempt to return this week ended up with him detained in an airport toilet for more than a day.
Miguna says he holds Kenyan and Canadian citizenship but authorities have disputed his Kenyan status.
In a post on social media, he said the airline that fled him to Dubai, Emirates, “claimed that it was forced to carry me unconscious with no travel documents because the ‘state had refused to allow them permission to leave.’” He added that “Air Emirates has refused to return me to Nairobi. It argues that the illegitimate Uhuru Kenyatta government has threatened to deny them landing rights if they fly with me to Nairobi.”
The airline did not respond to requests for comment.
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.
Associated Press writer Aya Batrawy in Dubai contributed.