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Human rights organisation want gov’t to tame killings

A human rights organisation that fights to prevent and respond to torture and related violations in Kenya has raised concern over the high number of incidents of torture and extra judicial killings that continue to be reported in the country.

The Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) has said that it has documented more than 100 cases of torture and related violations of human rights since January this year.

IMLU programme officer in charge of security, Livingstone Nyando said that the cases have significantly increased as only 78 cases were reported in the first half of 2021.

Nyando who was speaking in Murang’a town on Wednesday while addressing community leaders drawn from the bodaboda, women, youth and business sectors observed that 92 of the reported cases for this year were men and 17 were women.

He observed that family members refer most torture victims to the organization. Some of the victims are also referred through their national networks of professionals that monitor any human rights violations.

“IMLU has partnered with organizations such as FIDA and Defenders Coalition who support our organisation operations together with a network of journalist, doctors and lawyers who cover torture cases,” he stated.

In addition, Nyando said that the organisation also works with the Witness Protection Authority to provide protection for unsafe witnesses.

The programme officer however, expressed optimism that the new government will address the issues of torture and human rights violations.

He observed that just a few weeks after the new government took over, cases of extra judicial killings perpetrated by the police continued to be reported.

“We are hoping that this is going to change, that people will not be killed aimlessly and that due process will be followed by the police,” he said.

“If someone is suspected of any wrongdoing, they should be reported to the nearby police station and should have their day in court to be prosecuted and evidence tabled against them,” Nyando added.

The organisation wants the government to take action and those who are found culpable to be arraigned in court and their cases determined.

Nyando said the organisation has many other active cases in court and reiterated his organization’s commitment to rid the country of torture and extra judicial killings.

Nyando observed that on average, the organisation receives about 200 cases of torture annually.

He urged the government to consider funding the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to capacitate it to better undertake its functions that include investigating deaths and serious injuries caused by police actions and investigating police misconduct among others.

By Anita Omwenga and Bernard Munyao

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