Protests Against Extrajudicial Killings Set Off, Government Denies Police Death Squads

Many Civil society groups in Kenya rallied round in several cities to protest against what they describe as a pattern of extrajudicial killings by the police including Willie Kimani’s murder.

The more than 30 local and international human rights groups and lawyers said it must get to the root of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani’s murder along with, his client Josephat Mwenda and a taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri.

In the countrywide protests, protesters in Nairobi sat down in the road at the country’s Supreme Court. They carried placards demanding justice for the victims of police executions. Other cities also feature marchers with red-stained t-shirts chanting for justice to be served.

The protests was called after the discovery of the bodies of missing human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and his client Josephat Mwenda. His taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri, whose body is yet to be found, is also believed to have been murdered.

Kenyans protest against extrajudicial killing in Kenya Willie Kimani's murder

The police have dismissed reports of their involvement in the killings but three officers roped in the varnishing of the three have been arrested.

Read Also: Human Rights Groups Plan Massive Protest Against Extrajudicial Killings

The three police officers, who are the suspects in the suffocation of lawyer Willie Kimani and two others, will remain in police custody for 14 days pending investigations.

The Director of Public Prosecutions told the court that investigations into the murder were complex and that they need more time to look into the matter painstakingly.

The protesters challenged IG Joseph Boinnet to clarify whether or not the AP officer accused of shooting Mwenda in April 2015 is among the rogue officers in custody as the suspects of the alleged murder.

The three officers have been identified as Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Chebulet and Silvia Wanjiku, and were arraigned at Milimani Law courts on Monday.

Kenyans protest against extrajudicial killing in Kenya-2 Willie Kimani's murder

The Law Society of Kenya had also urged its members to boycott the courts to protest against the murder of one of their members.

Since Willie Kimani’s murder, with his taxi driver Muiruri and boda boda rider Mwenda, there have been many suggestion that Nkaissery, Cabinet Secretary for Internal Affairs, and Inspector-General Boinnet should be sacked. The call for their sack intensified after the victims were found four days ago. Many others have called for their resignation.

Different studies show that killings by the police are common in the country. Innocent people disappear, tortured and even killed. Out of fear, people tremble when they have an encounter with the police, and choose rather to bribe them rather than insist on their legal rights.

Read Also: Bodies Suspected To Be That Of Missing Lawyer, Client And Driver Found

However, government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe denied the allegations, saying police do no run death squads.

Fredrick-Leliman-Stephen-Chebulet-Silvia-Wanjiku-suspected-to-have-killed-right-lawyer Willie Kimani's murder

He defended the police over allegations of extrajudicial killings:

“There are no death squads in the Kenya police, the few who commit crime are subjected to the rule of law.”

On the other hand, Salim Lone, a Kenyan journalist and at one time spokesperson for the former prime minister Raila Odinga, said that killings like that of Mr Kimani was not the work of rogue policemen but was part of a “state sanctioned policy”.

In a statement, Kalonzo Musyoka condemned the cold blood murder of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a taxi driver.

Assuring that the perpetrators must face justice, he said:

“A young lawyer whose mistake was to represent a client in court was abducted and murdered in cold blood. This is unacceptable more than 50 years of independence.”