UPDATE: After human rights defender and lawyer, Willie Kimani was abducted with Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri by the Administration Police last week, their slain bodies have now been discovered in a river over the weekend.
In an effort to ensure the identification and meaningful prosecution of everyone involved with the murders please sign the petition ‘Justice in Kenya’ at www.justiceinkenya.org.
More information on the story is available from BBC.
WE CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF HRDS IN KENYA
Human rights defender and lawyer, Willie Kimani, and his two associates, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri have disappeared in Kenya after being abducted by the Administration Police on 23 June 2016. We call for their immediate release. Read the full statement below or download the PDF.
View the video statement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TYKxOpxST4
29th June 2016
Enforced Disappearance of Willie Kimani, a Human Rights Defender together with
Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri
We the undersigned organizations call for the immediate release of Willie Kimani, a human
rights defender/lawyer, and his two associates, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri, who
were abducted by the Administration Police (AP) on 23rd June 2016. The three were
abducted as they left the Mavoko Law Courts in Machakos County shortly before 12:00 pm.
Willie, who works for the International Justice Mission (IJM), was in court together with
IJM client Josephat Mwenda, a 24 year old father of one who before the 10th April 2015,
plied his trade as a Boda boda (motor cycle) rider. This is the culmination of numerous
blatant attempts to intimidate Josphat to withdraw a complaint lodged with the Independent
Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) against a senior Administration Police (AP) officer
stationed at Syokimau AP Camp.
This all began on 10th April 2015 at about 2.00 PM when Josephat Mwenda, while a pillion
passenger on a friend’s motorcycle, was stopped by two ununiformed police officers one of
whom they later realized was a well-known senior Administration Police officer from the
area. According to eye witnesses, the AP officer shot Josphat without provocation, after
which the AP officer transported Josephat to hospital together with his colleague, and
thereafter placed him in police custody. In an attempt to cover up the shooting, Josephat
was fraudulently charged with “being in possession of narcotic drugs”, “gambling in a
public place”, and “resisting arrest.” Curiously, four other officers, who were not at the
scene, recorded statements in support of these malicious and fabricated charges. Josephat
sought legal assistance with IJM who immediately took on his case.
Ever since Josephat reported the shooting incident to the IPOA, he has faced persistent
threats. On 13th December 2015, the same officer responsible for the shooting, in the
company of other AP officers picked Josphat up from his home. He was taken to Mlolongo
Police Station and charged the following day with six (6) counts of fabricated traffic charges.
These were: (i) riding a motorcycle without a helmet; (ii) riding a motorcycle without a
reflective jacket; (iii) carrying excess passengers; (iv)carrying un-insured passengers; (v)
riding un-insured motorcycle; and (vi) riding a motorcycle without a driving license. This
was despite the fact that Josephat was still undergoing physiotherapy on his arm, and was
therefore unable to ride a motorcycle.
Throughout this time, Josephat has been the victim of numerous threats and intimidation,
including an incident on 16th February 2016 when he was picked by two men from court
claiming to be officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The officers
alleged that they were investigating a robbery with violence case and that Josephat and
others were suspects. An IJM Advocate insisted on being present during the interrogation
where Josephat’s identity documents were taken from him then returned shortly afterwards.
As partners, we learnt with shock and disbelief that our colleague Willie, a dedicated human
rights lawyer and a champion of justice, was abducted along with Josephat Mwenda, the
client he was assisting, and with their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri. There is strong evidence
indicating that Willie and his colleagues were unlawfully detained at the Syokimau AP
Camp for a period of time on 23rd June 2016 and were moved soon thereafter.
Willie Kimani has dedicated his career to secure basic human rights and freedom for his
fellow citizens. This he started while an intern (later Legal Officer) at Release Political
Prisoners, now the Rights Promotion and Protection Centre (RPP), where he continues to
serve on the Board. His passion for fighting for the protection of victims of torture and extrajudicial killings drew him to the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU), and later the
Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). In the last year, Willie joined
International Justice Mission (IJM) pouring his incredible passion into the fight for securing
justice for the poor and transforming the criminal justice system.
We in the human rights community strongly condemn this enforced disappearance of a
human rights lawyer and call for the immediate release of Willie and his associates, Mr.
Josephat Mwenda and Mr. Joseph Muiruri. We call for the immediate interdiction,
investigation and holding to account of the officers involved in this heinous act. We also call
on IPOA to undertake an audit and investigate the impact of Syokimau AP Post to the
people of that area.
1. The Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR)
2. Amnesty International (AI)
3. International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
4. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
5. Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU)
6. Freedom House (FH)
7. Rights Protection and Promotion Centre (RPP)
8. International Commission of Jurists-Kenya (ICJ-K)
9. Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ)
10. National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD-K)
12. Protection International (PI)