February 1st, 2009
04:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama's half brother says he's been released from jail

 George Obama was arrested in Kenya on a charge for possession of marijuana, according to police.

George Obama was arrested in Kenya on a charge for possession of marijuana, according to police.

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) - George Obama, the half brother of President Obama, told CNN on Sunday that he was released from a Kenyan jail hours after his arrest for possession of marijuana.

Kenyan police did not confirm whether Obama is still in their custody.

Obama spoke to CNN from his cell phone, and a family member also said he was released.

He said he was arrested on Saturday and released later the same day.

Inspector Augustine Mutembei said Obama was arrested for possession of cannabis, known in Kenya as Bhang, and for resisting arrest. He was being held at Huruma police post in the capital, Nairobi.

He was scheduled to appear in court Monday, Mutembei said.

But Obama told CNN that all charges had been dropped against him.

Police would also not comment on that.

Speaking from behind bars, Obama denied the allegations on Saturday.

"They took me from my home," he said, "I don't know why they are charging me."

George Obama and the president barely know each other, though they have met. George Obama was one of the few people closely related to the president who did not attend the inauguration in Washington.

In his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," Barack Obama describes meeting George as a "painful affair." His trip to Kenya meant meeting family he had never known.

CNN tracked down George Obama in August 2008 and found him at a small house in Huruma, a Nairobi slum, where he lives with his mother's extended family. His birth certificate shows he is Barack Obama's half brother.

The two men share the same Kenyan father.

In the memoir, Barack Obama struggles to reconcile with his father after he left him and his mother when he was just a child.

Barack Obama Sr. died in a car accident when George was just 6 months old. And like his half brother, George hardly knew his father.

George was his father's last child and had not been aware of his famous half brother until he rose to prominence in the Democratic primaries last year.

Unlike his grandmother in Kogela, in western Kenya, George Obama had received little attention from the media until reports about him surfaced in August 2008.

The reports sprung from an Italian Vanity Fair article saying George Obama lived in a shack and was "earning less than a dollar a day."

The reports left George Obama angry. "I was brought up well. I live well even now," he said. "The magazines,
they have exaggerated everything.

"I think I kind of like it here. There are some challenges, but maybe it is just like where you come from, there are the same challenges," Obama said.

Obama, who is in his mid-20s, said at the time that he was learning to become a mechanic and was active in youth groups in Huruma. He said he tried to help the community as much as he can.

Filed under: Obama family
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Helen, NY

    Barack Obama should bring him to America and give him citizenship. We need such drug-users/ Barack also was using drugs in his life. He also has his aunt in Boston and I wonder if he has given her legal status. I think we will have influx of Kenyans to America now. Barack actually is coming from the Northern part of Kenya bordering Somalia. In fact he is a Somali. Do yopu remember the head-gear he had which Hillary had shown us during the campaign. This is what you get when you elect such person to the highest office. Show is on now.

    February 1, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. Pepou

    Who care ? President Obama met the guy once in his life. Leave him alone in Kenya.

    February 1, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. inuk of the north

    The daisy chain continues:

    Wright, ACORN, Ayers, Rezko, Blogojevich, Richardson, Geithner, Daschle, an INS-dodging auntie and a pot-smoking brother.

    Oh yea, change we can believe in.

    February 1, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Amanda

    Rush Limbaugh is a drug addict and he is not in jail but spewing hate on the radio

    February 1, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. Proud American

    The Truth February 1st, 2009 4:59 pm ET

    Using Barack's criteria this guy should be named head of the DEA any day now.
    It's looks like a pretty safe bet your parents were using something the night you were conceived, or their brother and sister.

    February 1, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. Ernie in LA

    You folks say,"Why is this news?" If this was McCains brother it sure as hell would be news and full of Dems negative comments.

    February 1, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  7. meck


    February 1, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  8. Eric

    I think this is an important story. What happens if he gets he gets used as political pressure to get top the president.

    February 2, 2009 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
1 2 3