FORMER UK COUNCILOR MUNYAMBU WINS EXTRADITION CASE
A FORMER Basildon councillor will not be extradited to Kenya, after a judge ruled he would likely be held in inhumane conditions. Daniel Munyambu, who represented Vange ward from 2010 until 2015, was wanted for trial in Kenya over alleged fraud – but a judge today refused to grant permission for extradition and instead discharged him.
District Judge Tan Ikram announced the ruling in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court this morning. He said there was a strong possibility that sending Mr Munyambu to a Kenyan prison would result in a breach of his human rights.
In his written judgement, the judge cited an Amnesty International report which said torture and ill-treatment were widespread in Kenyan prisons, resulting in hundreds of deaths per year. The report said most prisons also offered inadequate food and clothing. A second report cited in the judgement, by the US State Department, said Kenyan prison staff beat and raped prisoners, who were kept in overcrowded, poorly ventilated cells.
The judge also cited a Home Office report which warned of ’cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ in Kenyan prisons. The Home Office report said: “Prison and pre-trial detention conditions are likely to breach the Article 3 threshold in most cases. Where applicants can demonstrate a real risk of imprisonment on return to Kenya, a grant of humanitarian protection will generally be appropriate.”
Judge Ikram noted: “In the present case, there is no evidence from the Kenyan government on conditions in prison, nor in relation to where the defendant would be kept if extradited. “Bearing in mind the realistic prospect of remand, perhaps for up to three years prior to trial, and no contrary information from the requesting state as to where he will be held, I am satisfied that there is a real risk that prison/pre-trial detention conditions are likely to reach the Article Three threshold.” Mr Munyambu claimed the charges – that he had defrauded a Kenyan native with his Basildon-based car import company Clickett Traders Ltd – were politically motivated. He alleged Kenyan authorities had trumped up what was really a civil dispute into a criminal case, to thwart his political campaigning. However, Judge Ikram ruled there was a case to answer, saying the evidence of political malice ’is, at best, weak, or is self-serving’. His judgement said: “He has given an explanation which may or may not be true. That is for the Kenyan court to decide. “Even if I were to take the view that the evidence, taken as a whole, raises a reasonable doubt as to guilt, I am of the view that a tribunal properly directed might reasonably take the contrary view that he was dishonest and convict.”
The judge later wrote: “I am not satisfied that extradition has been sought by the Kenyan authorities to prosecute him on account of his political opinions or that he would be prejudiced by reason of his political opinions.” He told Mr Munyambu in court this morning: “I have upheld your argument under Article Three. I didn’t find any of the other grounds made out. But on that basis alone, I discharge you. “The Kenyan authorities now have time to consider whether they wish to appeal my decision.” Mr Munyambu told the YA after the hearing: “I feel relieved and I feel justice has been done, finally. “There were no crimes I had committed. Finally, the judge has gone through all the evidence that was presented and he has made his decision to discharge me, for which I’m very, very grateful and I feel redeemed.” Asked what his immediate plans were, he said: “For the next few weeks I will need to rest my mind so that I can refocus again, because I have gone through a lot of mental torture, psychological torture and financial torture. “Then I will be able to continue pursuing my political career and my planning and campaigning for the presidential election in Kenya in 2017.” He added: “I did not really have an opportunity to say anything to the people of Basildon when I left the council last year. Please tell them I do not know what will happen or whether I will return to serve them again, but please tell them I love them.” – yellowad.co.uk