Amnesty International Kenya has frowned upon the detention of Tanzanian opposition leader, Godbless Lema, in Kenya on Sunday evening.
The immediate former Member of Parliament for Arusha Urban Constituency was arrested at Ilbissil in Kajiado County after he and his family crossed over through the Namanga border.
The Chadema leader is said to have left his home in a taxi accompanied by his wife Neema Godbless, their three children and alighted at Namanga.
The lobby group on Monday said that they want the Kenyan government to speedily process Lema’s asylum and refrain from deporting him to Tanzania.
Handing him over to the John Magufuli-led administration, the lobby group said, could lead to “political persecution and imprisonment”.
“Kenya must not violate the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulment. The international principle is upheld by our own laws. It prohibits Kenya from turning away people at the border or returning them to their country where they would be at risk of danger,” Amnesty Kenya said.
According to the Amnesty Kenya, Kenya’s international law obligations allow anyone seeking asylum to make entry legally or illegally.
“Lema has the right to have his application heard and considered for refugee status.
“Transferring Godbless Lema back to Tanzania, a country where he risks facing serious human rights violations, would itself amount to a human rights violation. The Government of Kenya is obligated to protect and provide sanctuary to Lema and his family.”
We call on the Government of Kenya to URGENTLY process Godbless Lema’s asylum as per its obligations under international law and not deport the opposition politician back to Tanzania.
Read our statement below. @FredMatiangi @IG_NPS pic.twitter.com/bJ0b1PkKTl
— Amnesty Kenya (@AmnestyKenya) November 9, 2020
Magufuli was sworn in last Thursday and Lema was among opposition leaders who were arrested for organising protests in the country. They were later freed but continue to call for justice.
The opposition leaders have been calling for the disbandment of Tanzania’s electoral body, National Electoral Commission (NEC), to pave way for a fresh election.