British rights activist blocked from entering Uganda

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A British rights activist who had travelled to Uganda to observe court proceedings against a suspect in the July 11 bombings case was denied entry to the country, an embassy official told AFP Wednesday.

Clara Gutteridge, who investigates secret prisons and renditions for London-based Reprieve, intended to witness Thursday's bail hearing of Al-Amin Kimathi, a Kenyan activist accused of helping plan the World Cup attacks that killed at least 76 people watching the World Cup final in Kampala.

Gutteridge was refused entry to Uganda and is scheduled to leave the country later Wednesday, according Chris Ward, spokesman at the British High Commission here.

"She was not permitted to enter the country," Ward told AFP. "There was no explanation given. We are working with government to figure out what happened."

Ward said it was "a possibility" that Gutteridge was denied entry because of work on rights abuses committed during terrorism investigations, but said it was "too early to speculate."

He explained that after arriving at Entebbe Tuesday night, Gutteridge was held by police and immigration officials for more than three hours before ultimately being refused entry.

Kimathi, who founded the Muslim Human Rights Forum and has previously advocated on behalf individuals caught up in regional terrorism investigations, was arrested in Uganda in September.

Last week, prosecutors said Kimathi will be tried in a high court for helping orchestrate the twin suicide bombings.

© 2010 AFP

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