Kiwi in Kenyan jail goes on hunger strike

  • Breaking
  • 12/12/2013

A New Zealand tourist held in a Kenyan prison on child trafficking charges has gone on a hunger strike, saying he won't eat until he's freed.

Aucklander Ukes Baha was arrested in the company of two underage girls last month, but the 38-year-old denies any offending and says he is the victim of Kenya's legal system.

Baha has been granted bail, but he can't afford to pay the $23,000 for his release. He says the court has given him no time to come up with the money, and has only asked for such a large sum to keep him locked up.

"When he asked for seven days, you gave him two days," he argued in court. "My grievance is [not having] justice."

Baha, who was born in Iran, was arrested in a shopping mall with two underage sisters last month and charged with child trafficking offences. But he says he fell in love with one of the girls, so he paid her parents a dowry of eight cows and $100.

Baha says he's being treated like a criminal when there is no evidence of offending, and now he's fired his lawyers and is refusing to eat.

"He was on hunger strike since Friday," said the officer in charge of the prison where Baha is being held. "This morning I wrote a letter because he has issues with the court. His grievances will be addressed."

Local journalists say he is being looked after by doctors.

"He is quite growing weak, but at least he is in stable health," said Bruno Mutunga.

But they say his health will deteriorate quickly in the poor conditions he is being held in.

"Prisons are not like in the West. The prison facilities are really not good – all the prisoners sleep on the floor."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs here says it has been communicating with Baha, but it cannot intervene with Kenya's justice system.

Baha's case will be heard next February.

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source: newshub archive