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A Kenyan opposition politician who government authorities deported in contravention of a court order said on Thursday he had been assaulted, drugged and dragged onto a flight to Dubai. Miguna Miguna was put on an Emirates flight late on Wednesday evening, his lawyer Cliff Ombeta said, two days after police detained the politician on his return to the country. His deportation marks a significant escalation in a tussle between the judiciary and the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, which opposition leaders and other critics say fails to respect the authority of the courts in political matters.
Miguna said he had been dragged, assaulted and drugged during the forced deportation. “I’m sick. I need medical treatment…I need urgent help here,” he said in a posting on Twitter. The interior ministry would issue a statement soon, spokesman Mwenda Njoka told Reuters. Kenyan authorities initially deported Miguna in February, saying he had rescinded his Kenyan citizenship when he acquired Canadian nationality but a court ruled he should be allowed back.
The ministry had denied that Miguna was being held illegally and said he had failed to follow arrival procedures when he landed in Kenya. The politician said in a statement posted on Facebook that he was detained in a lavatory in an arrivals hall. A Kenyan high court judge on Wednesday found the Interior Minister and the police chief guilty of contempt and told them to appear for sentencing because they failed to obey the court order to release Miguna.
The judge said he would read their sentence on Thursday morning in a Nairobi court, but it was unclear what impact that would have.