Kenyan police to be charged with murder of human rights lawyer | News | DW | 02.07.2016
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Kenyan police to be charged with murder of human rights lawyer

Kenyan authorities say they will charge three police officers with murder after a noted lawyer was found dead. Human rights groups believe that the police wanted to silence the victim because of a court case he pursued.

The bodies of lawyer Willie Kimani and motorcycle taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were discovered in a river on Friday, prompting Kenyan authorities to announce that three police officers had been arrested and would soon be charged over the murders.

The policemen are suspected of murdering the two men - along with a third, still missing man, Josephat Mwenda - in order to keep them silent in the wake of a court case that shed light on police abuse. Mwenda claimed he was shot by a police officer without provocation back in April 2015 and subsequently arrested on trumped-up charges.

Mwenda said he had received death threats after reporting the policeman. Kimani was representing Mwenda in court.

"Completely unacceptable"

The three men are suspected of having been abducted on June 23 while returning from court. Authorities said there were clear signs Kimani and Muiruri had been tortured.

"This is completely unacceptable. Once lawyers are under threat, then nobody can save Kenyans," Isaac Okero, the president of Kenya's bar association, said. He said that lawyers across Kenya will go on strike.

The country's police chief said the three officers accused of murder were not indicative of typical behavior within the force. "I reject claims that there are death squads in the police," said Joseph Boinnet. "These are rogue officers, just like any society with rogue people."

blc/bw (AFP, AP)