(Updates with journalist faces deportation)
By Katharine Houreld
NAIROBI Dec 9 Kenyan police plan to deport a
British journalist working for The Times after holding him
nearly 24 hours without charge or access to a legal
representative, his lawyer said on Friday.
"I have not been able to speak to him since they took away
his phones," said lawyer George King, who is acting on behalf of
"I understand they will deport him," he said, citing a
conversation with Starkey before the journalist's phones were
Starkey has been held since getting off an international
flight on Thursday night and has not been allowed to meet his
lawyer. It was unclear why he was being detained.
Kenyan police and the interior ministry did not respond to
request for comments.
Kenyan law requires a suspect to be charged within 24 hours
of being detained, King said.
Starkey, 35, covered Afghanistan for five years, travelling
to far-flung provinces by motor bike, before moving to Kenya in
2012 to cover Africa for The Times, a British newspaper.
An award-winning journalist, his recent articles have
focused on a narcotics smuggling, security, politics and
He was pulled aside by police as he reached the immigration
desk, he said in an email.
"The immigration officer noticed something on her computer
and led me to a side room," he wrote. "They said there was a
security block on my passport, which had been put there by
Kenyan security services."
"I have no idea why I am being held, nor has anyone proffered
any kind of explanation. As far as I am aware, I haven't been
He said he had been questioned and photographed by an
officer from the anti-terror police unit.
A British foreign office spokesman confirmed the office was
The Times had no immediate comment.
Kenyan authorities have been targeting journalists who
challenge authorities, Human Rights Watch said. Since 2015, five
journalists and eight bloggers have been charged with "demeaning
the authority of a public officer", "annoying a public officer",
or defamation, the rights body said.
"We have serious concerns that officials seek to silence
independent voices who are critical of the government," said
Maria Burnett, associate director for East Africa at Human
Rights Watch. "We have documented cases of intimidation, arrest,
questioning and harassing criminal charges brought against
Kenyan journalists and bloggers."
(Editing by Richard Lough)