Top Stories / National
Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016 18:45 EATjwamuyu@kenyafreepress.com
An online petition to President Uhuru Kenyatta to have the killers of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri speedily prosecuted and jailed has attracted over 27,000 petitioners only two days since its launching.
The petition by the International Justice Mission has put the killings in Kenya on the global map, with petitioners from all continents signing it in a bid to pressure the Kenyan Government uphold justice for the three men who were abducted on June 23 after attending a court session only for their bodies to be found eight days later in River Ol-Donyo Sabuk.
The petition titled “President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta: Please Secure Justice for the Murders of Willie, Josephat and Joseph,” is part of efforts by lawyers and civil rights groups to have the government punish those behind the murders.
Kimani, an IJM staff member, was representing Mwenda in a case whereby his client had been shot accidentally by an Administration Police (AP) officer in 2015. The case was soon after clouded with several charges against Mwenda, ranging from drug trafficking and other petty offences, which his lawyer said were part of an effort to intimidate Mwenda.
The Petition reads in part: "On June 23, 2016, Willie Kimani, a Kenyan human rights lawyer and father of two, accompanied Josephat Mwenda to a Mavoko court, in his defense against what he termed as blatantly false charges by an abusive police force. The bodies of Willie, Josephat and their driver, Joseph Muiruri, were found in the Ol-Donyo Sabuk River eight days later.”
In the petition, IJM asserts that the murderers of Willie, Josephat and Joseph must be prosecuted and sent to prison for this horrific violence that saw the victims life snapped of them by hitting by a blunt object and strangulation according to postmortem reports, asserting that the ultimate well-being of Kenya and its citizens hangs in the balance.
The Petition highlights the ease with which a corrupt or incompetent police officer can frame and imprison an innocent person, who must then wait in jail, often for years on end, for a chance to prove his or her innocence. According to a Kenyan government report, the number of crimes reported to the police in 2015 involving the police increased by 34 percent.
“This corrupt system has packed Kenyan prisons full of innocent men and women with no way out and no lawyer to fight for their release and the police who abuse their power are not held accountable.
"Willie Kimani was working to protect the innocent from such abuse, and he was murdered while courageously pursuing that mission.”
The petitioners seek to have the head of state ensure identification and meaningful prosecution of everyone involved in the murders. They also demand immediate removal of Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the AP, Samuel Arachi, adding that his officers have continued to abuse innocent citizens.
Three AP officers have been apprehended in connection with murders and were detained for 14 days awaiting police to wind up investigations. Unconfirmed reports indicate that three other officers are being hunted down for the same.
Judy is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press