East Africa

Kenya human rights lawyer Kimani,client, driver found dead

DIGNITY condemns the killings of the Kenyan human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josphat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.

Lawyer Willie Kimani worked for International Justice Mission, and had previously been working for DIGNITY-partner Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU). He and two associates were abducted on the 23rd of June around noon, shortly after they’d left a courthouse in Machakos county, southeast of Nairobi.

Early this Friday, the bodies of what is believed to be Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri were found in the Oldonya-river. This is according to the Kenyan news service Daily Nation.

– The enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing of human rights-activists is something we know from the worst of dictatorial states. DIGNITY demands that the Kenyan authorities find the culprits behind this grave human rights violation, and bring them to justice, says director of DIGNITY, Karin Verland.

On the 23rd of June, Willie Kimani and Josphat Mwenda had attended court in relation to an ongoing complaint filed by Mr. Mwenda against an unnamed police officer. It is feared that these killings are the culmination of prolonged harassment against Mr. Mwenda in order to obstruct his case.

Joseph Muiruri’s taxi was found the next morning, around 30 miles from the court house, in an abandoned tea-plantation.

Case falls way outside the norm
Willie Kimani had dedicated his career to securing basic human rights for his fellow citizens. His passion for the fight to protect victims of torture and extrajudicial killings led him to work for DIGNITY-partner IMLU.

– For several years we’ve had a close and strong corporation with IMLU, where the now killed lawyer and human rights defender Willie Kimani had worked. This case is extremely tragic and serious. Though Kenya is known to be corrupt and violent, it falls way outside the norm when a witness, a taxi driver, and a famous human rights lawyer is abducted and killed like this, says Ahlam Chemlali, program coordinator at DIGNITY.

Willie Kimani began working with the International Justice Mission last year. Here, he worked for the rights of the poor, and for the reformation of the criminal justice system in Kenya.

Our thoughts are with the families, colleagues, and friends of Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwenda, and Joseph Muiruri.

Danish Institute Against Torture.

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