Willie Kimani: Kenyan police charged with murder

  • Published
Suspects in courtImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
The four officers have been remanded in custody

Four police officers have been charged with the murder of a lawyer and two others, which sparked protests against extrajudicial killings in Kenya.

The suspects pleaded not guilty but the judge ordered they remain in custody.

They face three counts of murder for the deaths of lawyer Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwenda and their driver Joseph Muiruri.

The three went missing in June after Mr Kimani filed a case against a police officer on behalf of Mr Mwenda.

A week later, decomposing bodies of the three were recovered in a river, in the outskirts on Kenya's capital Nairobi.

Post-mortem reports said the bodies had signs of torture.

Image source, IJM
Image caption,
Willie Kimani went missing shortly after leaving a Nairobi court

The killings sparked outrage in Kenya and many have blamed the police force for a series of extrajudicial killings in recent years.

The hashtag #StopExtrajudicialKillings gained popularity on social media as people gathered to take part in protests around the country.

A joint statement by 34 Kenyan and international human rights organisations condemned the killings.

The government has denied the existence of police death squads, saying any killings are the work of "rogue officers".

Kenyan security forces carried out 25 extrajudicial killing between 2013 and 2015, Kenya's official rights body said.

However, non-governmental watchdog Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) says the police killed 97 people in 2015 alone.

High-profile extrajudicial killings in Kenya:

Image source, Daily Nation
Image caption,
Police said about at least 10 bullets were fired at Jacob Juma's Mercedes car
  • In May 2016 Businessman Jacob Juma was shot dead while driving home. He had been involved in several high-profile legal cases against the government over failed business deals
  • In October 2013 Muslim cleric Ibrahim "Rogo" Omar was shot dead while driving home. Mr Rogo was alleged to have links with Islamist militants al-Shabab
  • In August 2012 Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed in a drive-by shooting. He was from the same mosque as Mr Omar and was also accused of backing al-Shabab
  • In March 2009 human rights activist Oscar Kamau Kingara, who investigated extrajudicial killings, was shot dead in his car shot as he drove home.

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