Dossier uncovers how UK supports torture of terror suspects at ATPU headquarters

Anti Terror Police Unit (ATPU). [Photo: Courtesy]

A new dossier by Declassified UK has labelled Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) as a one “operating like a gang”.

The new dossier brought to fore torture that suspects are subjected to at the ATPU headquarters in Nairobi.

ATPU is funded by the British government.

Once terror suspects are arrested, they are handed over to ATPU for interrogation. It is by the least definition cruel according to the report.

“So when they would not cooperate they would be taken to ATPU cells where they would be denied water and food for a day. When you deny a Muslim water, he won’t go for long. Actually, he will talk,” an officer was quoted explaining what happens.

A Muslim needs water for ablution.

But it is more inhumane and painful for suspects who decide to remain quiet. For them, the goose is cooked.

“We normally just strip them, put them upside down. That’s the way we normally do… We tie their private parts. Tie with rope and then we squeeze… We don’t leave scars. We’re professionals,” another officer added.

A past report by Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights highlighted the violation of human rights for terror suspects.

In the 2015 report, KNCHR stated that terror suspects have complained of their private parts being injured and by pulling, twisting and pressing with pliers.

The Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai distanced the Kenyan police from the dossier saying he is not aware of such happenings.

“We don’t have such a policy in the service and such a thing has not been brought to our attention,” he told the Star.

An earlier report by Declassified revealed covert operations held by the special anti-terror unit with funding by UK and the US spy agencies.

The Rapid Response Team Commandos (RRT)  – a CIA and M16 paramilitary hit squad – is one of the deadliest secret anti-terror squad with special training by CIA.

RRT raids at night and never leave a trail of destruction. Its operations are swift, lethal and successful almost all the times.

One of the widely known capture by RRT is that of Jermaine Grant, a British terror suspect who had fled to Kenya.

Grant was behind the 2013 West Gate terror attack together with Samantha Lewthwaite alias “the white widow”.

Since the unit started its operations in Kenya, none of the officers has ever been found culpable of human rights violation.

An ATPU officer said that they work in the shadow of Kenya’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) which is at the heart CIA and M16 operations.

It shares intel with the two entities which then give tactical assignments.