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Kenya: Investigate police killings of pro-opposition protesters

12 August 2017

The Kenyan authorities must investigate reports that police shot dead demonstrators protesting against the outcome of the presidential election last night, said Amnesty International today as protesters started gathering again in opposition strongholds. As celebrations began in pro-government areas after Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the presidential election, supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga poured onto the streets in parts of Nairobi and Kisumu to protest the outcome.

"The Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) must immediately launch an independent and effective investigation into reported killings and where there is credible evidence of crimes, those responsible must be brought to justice," said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa,the Horn and the Great Lakes.

"Everyone has a right to peaceful protest and they must not be hurt, injured or killed for exercising that right."

Amnesty International has received credible information that one man was shot dead by police in Nairobi's Kibera slums and at least two others in Kisumu's Kondele area, while others were injured. There were also confrontations between police and protesters in Mathare and Kariobangi, both in Nairobi.

"Police must do everything necessary to protect life in these protests. They should prioritize dialogue and de-escalation, and only use force and firearms if all peaceful means fail, and only where necessary to protect life," said Muthoni Wanyeki,"Use of excessive and disproportionate force is forbidden under Kenyan and international law and must be avoided at all costs."

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/08/kenya-investigate-police-killings-of-pro-opposition-protesters/


East Africa: Now is the time to stand up for media freedom

Abdullahi Halakhe (East Africa reseracher at Amnesty International)

At a time when fake news is on the rise and robust and critical journalism is most acutely needed, the press in East Africa is facing growing challenges. Freedom of expression more generally is also at heightened risk as governments move to silence critical voices, both in mainstream and social media.

Increased access to the internet has liberalized access to information, and contributed to the rise of individual digital advocates against government excesses, leading to attacks on journalists and bloggers. Some journalists, bloggers, and media workers have been beaten, arrested and abducted.

Last month, Kenyan journalist Isaiah Gwengi, of The Standard newspaper, was assaulted and arrested by police officers who accused him of inciting the public through his articles.

Journalist Yassin Juma was arrested in January 2016, and held under section 29 of Kenya Information and Communication Act (KICA) for posting on Facebook a photo of a Kenyan soldier allegedly killed in an attack on Kenyan peacekeepers in Somalia. Fortunately, KICA was declared unconstitutional by the High Court three months later.

Judith Akolo, a journalist with the public broadcaster, KBC, was questioned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for retweeting a comment by Patrick Safari (@moderncorps) pointing out that the Directorate of Criminal Investigation had advertised vacancies with a one-day applications deadline.

The good news is that there have been a few court successes in between, including the striking down of KICA.

In February 2017, the High Court declared Section 194 of the Penal Code, which creates the offence of criminal defamation, unconstitutional. The court found the law, which imposes penalties of up to two years in prison for defamation, unnecessary, excessive, and unjustifiable in an open and democratic society, adding that it created a disproportionate limit on freedom of expression.

Quelle: Amnesty International Press Release

(Letzte Aktualisierung: 24. August 2017)

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