Police hunting for suspects in the killing of a prosecutor who pursued Islamic extremists have detained a former detainee from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, whom the Bush administration released in 2006.
Jamal Anthony Kiyemba, 35, was arrested with three others in a Kampala suburb Tuesday, Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga said on Wednesday. Enanga said U.S. officials helped track down Kiyemba.
He said there was no conclusive evidence tying Kiyemba to the killing on March 30 of Ugandan prosecutor Joan Kagezi, but that detectives were questioning him about his possible role and about other offenses.
Kagezi had been a prosecutor in the ongoing trial of 12 suspects accused of being involved in the July 2010 bombings here in which more than 70 people were killed while watching the soccer World Cup final on TV. The attack was carried out by al-Shabab, the Somali Islamic extremist group which opposes Uganda’s military involvement in Somalia.
Kagezi was shot twice by gunmen on March 30 after she left her car — in which she was traveling with two of her children on the way home from work — to buy groceries in a Kampala suburb. After shooting her in the head and neck, the gunmen fled on a motorcycle during heavy vehicular traffic, according to local police.
The U.S. Embassy in Uganda described Kagezi as a “heroine in the forefront of the fight against crime and terrorism.”
The suspects had changed their physical address three times, leading a surveillance team to suspect they played a role in the killing, Ugandan police chief Kale Kayihura told reporters Tuesday.
More than a decade ago, according to leaked Guantánamo documents, Kiyemba was captured as a suspected jihadist in Pakistan March 19, 2002, trying to reach Afghanistan — dressed as a woman, covered head-to-toe in a burka.
He was handed over to U.S. forces some weeks later, which took him to the military prison in Cuba. Lawyers described him as a British-raised Catholic convert to Islam.
He was approved for release in 2004 and sent to his native Uganda in February 2006.
Kiyemba may be familiar to people who follow Guantánamo litigation because, although he was from Uganda, his name was the first on a federal habeas corpus suit that ultimately represented 17 Muslim captives from China — Uighurs — who ultimately won their unlawful detention petition in federal court.
But by the time a federal judge heard the case, the Bush administration had already repatriated Kiyemba to his native Uganda.
A Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III, had no information about Kiyemba’s capture.
“We take any incidence of reengagement very seriously, and we work in close coordination through military, intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic channels to mitigate reengagement and to take follow-on action when necessary,” he said in a statement.
The Reprieve legal group in London, whose attorney Clive Stafford Smith represented Kiyemba at Guantánamo, also had no comment.
Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.