A Kenyan court on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of an opposition politician whose confrontation with authorities trying once again to deport him ended up with his reported detention in an airport toilet.
Miguna Miguna was previously deported to Canada on 6 February in a crackdown on politicians who attended a mock inauguration of the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, to protest against the re-election of the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.
Odunga said he would sentence the officials on Thursday even if they did not appear in his courtroom, but it was unclear the impact that would have.
"They say they want to remove me by force so they will have to kill me first because I am a Kenyan citizen", Miguna said, adding that he was not travelling with a Canadian passport but his Kenyan identification card and court orders.
They barricaded Kondele roundabout along the Kisumu-Kakamega highway demanding that the government release the fiery lawyer.
An hours-long standoff ensued before several dozen plainclothes officers dragged Miguna onto an Emirates airline plane bound for Dubai, opposition Senator James Orengo said. "I have not eaten". The court will jail them if they don't show, Justice George Odunga said. "You can not chase me from my country of birth because you have guns", Miguna said in the video, which appeared to have been taken with a mobile phone of one of the airline's crew members.
Justice Roselyn Aburili had on Tuesday given a directive to Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa, and Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinett to release the lawyer and so that he makes an appearance in court as earlier stated.
Lawyer Japheth Mutinda, representing Kenya's attorney general, said Miguna could not appear in court in response to an earlier order because his entry into the country was still being processed. But in a surprise move two weeks ago, Odinga and Kenyatta met for the first time publicly and shook hands, saying they had started a new initiative to heal the country.
Odinga had argued that Kenyatta lacked legitimacy because his initial August 8 re-election victory was nullified by the Supreme Court over "irregularities and illegalities".
In a separate incident throwing the spotlight on media freedoms, police punched and kicked journalists covering the attempted deportation of an opposition politician at Nairobi airport on Monday.