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Kenyan Opposition Lawyer Charged With Treason Over Odinga’s “Swearing In”

Reuters: The news re-ignited street unrest and one person was killed in demonstrations in the west – the heartland of support for Odinga, who maintains he was the rightful winner of elections that returned President Uhuru Kenyatta to power last year.

Two opposition lawmakers present at the “swearing in” one week ago were arrested and later released. So far police have not arrested Odinga.

Campaigning lawyer Miguna Miguna was arrested on Friday in a dawn raid on his home. He was granted bail of 50,000 Kenyan shillings ($500) but has remained in police custody with his whereabouts unknown until he appeared in court in Kajiado County, neighbouring Nairobi, on Tuesday to hear the charges.

He was charged with “being present and consenting to the administration of an oath to commit a capital offence, namely treason”, the charge sheet said.

Miguna refused to enter a plea, saying his case should be heard in a court in Nairobi, privately-owned Citizen Television reported.

Kenya’s lawyers’ association said Miguna was being denied fair process.

“Once again the state is wilfully violating Mr. Miguna’s rights by moving him without any notice to his lawyers or his family and, in order to frustrate their access to him, to a court stationed outside Nairobi,” Isaac Okero, president of the Law Society of Kenya, told reporters.

Odinga supporters demonstrating against the charges blocked roads and clashed with police in the western city of Kisumu, a Reuters witness said. Police used tear gas and fired warning shots to disperse them.

Witness Carlos Ouma said a county revenue collector had been killed by a stray bullet after police fired into the air to disperse demonstrators in nearby Ahero, Miguna’s home town. County Revenue Superviser Frank Omondi confirmed the death.

Odinga ran against Kenyatta in an election last August which was nullified by the Supreme Court on procedural grounds. Kenyatta won a repeat poll in October after Odinga boycotted it, claiming it would not be fair.

Three privately owned television stations were shut down last week as they began to cover the “swearing in”. Two resumed broadcasts on Monday, days after a court ordered them reopened.

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