Al Shabaab terror suspects protest over ‘privileges’in Kamiti Prison
FOURTEEN terror suspects held at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison were tortured for hours on end after they staged a violent protest and broke the arm of a senior warder.
During a four-hour lockdown, the senior Prisons official and several suspects sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment.
The fight saw the inmates battle the warders using metal bars, urine and human stool.
A deputy officer-in-charge identified only as Isaboke, who led a reinforcement team into the Isolation Block cells, was attacked by the suspects.
Isaboke suffered a broken arm. “He has a plaster that will see him off-duty for at least two months,” a Kamiti inside source told the Star.
The 14 have been enjoying such privileges as special foods like desert date delicacies during Ramadhan, five-times-a-day prayer outings to the prison mosque, unlimited visits by relatives and friends and better bedding than regular prisoners.
All this special treatment has been for a fee, according to insiders who sought anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Other sources privy to the chaotic protest and its aftermath on Wednesday last week confirmed the 14 were locked up in the Isolation Block cells and tortured by a group of warders under the command of a senior officer.
They have remained in isolation for the past week.
The mini-uprising was sparked by a decision to cut off their special diets, afternoon tea and unlimited prayer time.
Kamiti Prison administrators told the court that the suspects were unwell and being treated, but did not disclose what ailments more than a dozen men were simultaneously suffering from. And then the administrators requested two weeks to produce the 14 in court.
“These suspects have been getting good food from outside and a regular change of clean clothes, afternoon tea and other privileges. We believe they have been paying and maybe the warders asked for more money,” a source involved in the incident said.
Prison warders then contacted the nearby Kiamumbi police station and asked for teargas canisters and lobbed eight of them into the Isolation Block. The warders waited for an hour before storming into the cell and brutalising the suspects, in the process fracturing some of their limbs.
The Officer in Charge of the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Henry Kisingu, yesterday said the 14 had refused to wear capital offenders’ uniforms, a mandatory requirement for such suspects awaiting trial.
“Some of them started complaining that the Kenya television stations are immoral and demanded that all prisoners not watch TV. So we decided to withdraw the privileges. One of them with disciplinary issues then incited the others,” Kisingu concluded.
In court, defence lawyers have argued that the jailers failed to produce the suspects for a hearing to avoid a possible public outcry in the face of the injuries the suspects have sustained.