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Kenyan chief justice reveals threats ahead of vote

NAIROBI — In an extraordinary public statement only days before Kenya’s high-tension national election, the country’s chief justice said Wednesday that he has received a threatening letter warning of dire consequences if the judiciary doesn’t allow a top candidate indicted by the International Criminal Court to run.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga also revealed that an immigration officer at Nairobi’s airport tried to prevent him from traveling to Tanzania on Tuesday in what Mutunga said was probably a political act.

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Kenya goes to the ballot box on March 4, the first election since a flawed presidential vote in late 2007 devolved into mass violence that killed more than 1,000 people.

A letter dated Feb. 13 addressed to judges and ambassadors said that the judiciary should not prevent Uhuru Kenyatta from running for office. The letter began circulating just before Kenya’s High Court ruled last week that it had no jurisdiction to determine whether Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister, his running mate can run for the country’s top offices.

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