How Safe Are Human Rights Lawyers In Kenya?

FLW

KITUO CHA SHERIA is deeply concerned about the disappearance and the unknown whereabouts of Mr. Kimani Advocate, a Kenyan professional entitled to protection whilst on duty. It remains a mystery that, four days after his disappearance, there has been no sighting of him; there is no information of where he might be or what might have happened to him!

As a legal aid, human rights organization with lawyers representing clients against government authorities, including the police, KITUO is deeply concerned about the welfare of lawyers who toil each day to help their clients, mostly the poor to access justice.

This follows the media reports that whilst travelling from Mavoko Law Courts with his client after a Court appearance on Thursday 23rd June 2016, lawyer Willie Kimani together with his client Eric Mwendwa were picked up by a taxi driver John Muiruri towards International Justice Mission offices in Westlands, but were hijacked near Mlolongo area.

If what is being reported in the media that: Mr Eric Mwendwa had alleged that the charges against him followed his claim that he had been shot at by a Police officer in a dispute of a personal nature and further that; Mr.Mwendwa lodged a complaint with Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), accusing the officer of attempted murder and of framing charges, Kituo Cha Sheria smells a rat.

KITUO takes the view that; Lawyers who act as officers of the Court; with an overriding obligation to accept any instructions and to represent clients whilst carrying out their Constitutional duty of ensuring access to justice; should be able to do so without fearing for their lives.

Kituo Cha Sheria therefore joins the International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that has excelled in representation of victims worldwide and other organizations in asking the question, just how safe are human rights lawyers in Kenya whilst in the course of duty?

Kituo Cha Sheria remains alert to this disturbing news and reality  and is considering if and when appropriate to seek habeas corpus orders since there are media reports that certain bodies have been sighted, but have not yet been produced.

In the meantime, the family of Kituo Cha Sheria stands in solidarity with the families of Mr. Kimani, Mr. Mwendwa and Mr Muiruri and we keep them constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

28th June, 2016

By

Angote Gertrude

Kituo Cha Sheria

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