Sole Kenyan at Guantánamo Bay, Abdul Malik Bajabu alias Mohammed Abdulmalik, is set to be transferred from the famous military prison based in Cuba.
Man behind 2002 Kikambala attack set to be transferred from Guantánamo Bay
Bajabu was the only Kenyan at the famous military prison
Bajabu, a Uganda-born Kenyan citizen, was accused of belonging to Al Shabaab and had been among the last detainees to arrive at Guantánamo, following his arrest in 2007.
The American Department of Defence said it considered his 'low level of training and lack of leadership role in his pre-detention activities', as well as his family ties and compliance in detention to sanction the transfer.
Bajabu arrived in Guantánamo on March 23, 2007 after having been described by the Pentagon as a 'dangerous terror suspect'.
This was after he had admitted to participating in the 2002 Paradise Hotel attack in Mombasa, in which an explosive-filled SUV crashed into the hotel lobby, killing 13 and injuring 80.
He also admitted to involvement in the attempted shootdown of an Israeli Boeing 757 civilian airliner carrying 271 passengers, near Mombasa.
No Case Against Mohammed Abdulmalik
His release was secured through the assistance of Reprieve, a nonprofit organization of international lawyers and investigators whose stated goal is to: "Fight for the victims of extreme human rights abuses with legal action and public education".
His lawyers always maintained that there was no case against him. In a public release, they explained that he is a father-of-three, and that he 'was transferred by the Kenyan government to the US secret prison system'.
Abdulmalik’s ordeal began with an arrest by Kenyan police in a hotel café in Mombasa in February 2007.
"He was held by Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), during which time he was badly beaten and interrogated over alleged plans to attack a forthcoming marathon event in Mombasa,” stated his lawyers.
They added: "After two weeks of detention the Kenyan authorities apparently found no evidence linking Abdulmalik to any criminal activity. But he was not set free. Instead, Kenyan authorities drove him to an airport and handed him, with no form of judicial process, to US military personnel.”.
From Kenya he was flown to Djibouti, where he was reportedly detained in a shipping container on a US military base and told by interrogators that he was about to embark on a long, long journey.
He was then flown to Afghanistan, where he was held at Bagram, where lawyers claim he was detained under less than ideal conditions and was then flown to Guantánamo.
The transfer clearances came as the detention facility - used to hold hundreds of men captured abroad, as part of the US government’s war on terrorism - turned 20 years old on Tuesday January 11.
Bajabu's prospective relocation marked the latest step toward reducing the detainee population at Guantánamo and closing the facility which has posed political, legal and ethical challenges for successive American presidents.
Guantánamo Bay has also been widely referenced in numerous Hollywood movies, further increasing its fame around the world.
Some popular movies where the prison is referenced include: The Mauritanian (2021), Vice (2018), Camp X-Ray (2014), Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden (2012), Bad Boys II (2003), A Few Good Men (1992) and others.
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