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Kenyan denies ICC witness intimidation accusation

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A Kenyan ex-journalist accused of witness intimidation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing.

"I have not violated any law... Why should I be arrested?" Walter Barasa told AFP, after The Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant for him.

Barasa, 41, is accused of trying to bribe witnesses in the crimes against humanity trial of Deputy President William Ruto.

He has previously worked for Mediamax Network Ltd, a holding company owned by the family of President Uhuru Kenyatta, and which includes national television and radio stations. Mediamax said Wednesday that they no longer employed Barasa.

"It (the warrant) just follows the threats I was given by one of the (ICC) investigators whom I know very well," Barasa told AFP Wednesday as he travelled to Nairobi from his base in Eldoret, some 320 kilometres (200 miles) northwest of the capital, in Kenya's Rift Valley.

"He was telling me that I should admit that I was being sent by the Deputy President, and I told him I have never met the Deputy President," Barasa said. "I told him to go ahead and issue the warrant."

Barasa also said he was not been involved in the violence that followed the disputed 2007 presidential election and that he would address a press conference in Nairobi. He later cancelled the plan, citing advice from his lawyer.

Both Ruto and Kenyatta are facing crimes against humanity trials at the ICC for their alleged role in the violence, which left more than 1,100 dead and drove several hundred thousand from their homes.

Ruto's trial opened in September in the Hague. Kenyatta's is due to start November 12.

The warrant coincides with the mysterious disappearance of a controversial Kenyan blogger accused of being the first to expose the name of the first ICC prosecution witness in the Ruto case who testified to the court incognito.

The blogger has been missing for 12 days, and it remains unclear if the disappearance is linked to the case. The ICC has refused to confirm or deny if it has issued an arrest warrant for the blogger.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131003/kenyan-denies-icc-witness-intimidation-accusation