A family in Watamu has raised an alarm after their son went missing in the hands of police, hours after a court-ordered for his release.
The family of Taimur Kariuki Hussein said the 39-year-old man was released by Kahawa Law Courts on June 28, but he has since disappeared.
Hussein is said to have been arrested by Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) officers near Lamu on Friday, June 11. The family only learned of the arrest the next Monday when he was presented in court on charges of resisting arrest.
“When he appeared in court, he was badly injured. He had a broken finger, he had a sling on the right arm, stitched on his head and complained of pain on his leg,” said his sister Fauziya Hussein.
According to the family, Hussein told them that the police officers had assaulted him on accusations of resisting arrest. He remained in their custody and was denied access to a phone until Monday, June 12 when he was arraigned in court.
At the court, the officers dropped the charges of resisting arrest and brought up new charges relating to terrorism. Hussein’s sister said the officers requested to transfer him to Nairobi where the case would be heard. On Friday, June 18, he was transferred to Nairobi for further investigations. On Monday, June 21, he was presented before a magistrate in Kahawa Law Courts.
All this time his family remained in the dark regarding his whereabouts. The officers holding him asked the court to allow them to detain Hussein for a further seven days to conclude investigations.
On Monday, June 28, nothing came out of the investigations and the officers were ordered to release him unconditionally. Hussein was scheduled to go back to ATPU officers for a final exit statement before his unconditional release.
The lawyer who was representing him informed Hussein that his mother and sister would meet him at the ATPU offices to pick him up upon his release. But when they arrived, Hussein’s mother and sister were informed that he had been released 30 minutes ago.
The family said the officers who still had Hussein’s phones told them that they had directed him to come back for the phones on Friday, July 2, after a further forensic examination on the devices. The family, however, never got to see or talk to him after the purported release.
“An officer told me that Hussein had called someone in Malindi but when asked to provide the contact, they claimed not to have it even though they had his phone,” said Hussein’s mother.
His mother also said that the officers told him that Hussein had informed him that he was going to his sister who lives in Imara Daima. She said that the officers said they had even given him Sh1000 for his fare.
“Hussein has never visited me in Nairobi, he does not even know where I stay. Furthermore, his lawyer had informed him that we were going to pick him up, how could he have just left?” questioned the sister. She added, “He used to call my mother at every opportunity but after the claimed release, he did not but instead called someone in Malindi? “
Suspicious, the family filed an application at the High Court demanding the ATPU to release Hussein, dead or alive. In their response, the Anti-Terror group said they had released Hussein as ordered by the court and did not know his whereabouts. When the judge asked them to provide CCTV footage of his release, the ATPU claimed that footage recorded on their CCTV is wiped out every 24 hours.
Hussein had returned to Kenya in 2018 from the United States of America where he had been staying. He was living alone in a house in Watamu near his mother.