Human Rights Lawyer Joseph Kimani killed
On 23 June, Willie Kimani a Kenyan lawyer with International Justice Mission together with his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were allegedly abducted by police officers as they left Mavoko law courts. Their bodies, which showed signs of torture, were found dead in a river on 1 July. Mr. Kimani was representing Josephat Mwenda in a case against a police officer who unlawfully shot Josephat in the arm last year. Meanwhile, Kenya’s legal system continues to criminalise same sex relations. On 16 June, Justice Mathew Emukule of Mombasa High Court ruled that anal testing is a reasonable and legitimate means to prove 'unnatural sex'.The ruling followed a petition filed by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in November 2015 challenging anal testing after two gay men were forced to undergo HIV testing and an anal exam while in Police custody in Mombasa in February 2016.
With Kenya’s elections fast approaching, the government has banned all opposition-led demonstrations in a renewed and at times lethal clampdown on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Kenyan Police Chief, Japeth Koome, warned opposition supporters not to take part in the 6 June protest 'if you value your life'. On Sunday 5 June he had also warned that the Police were prepared to use lethal force against protestors if necessary. On 7 June, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior Security, Mr Joseph Nkaissery issued a government directive to this effect and further warned that whoever violated it would be severely punished. On 6 June, anti-riot police officers in Kisumu used live bullets and tear gas against peaceful protestors, killing two people and injuring five, including a five-year-old boy. Three people died in similar protests in western Kenya on May 23. One week earlier, Kenyan television broadcast images of police dispersing protestors with water cannons, batons and tear gas. A police officer is captured kicking the motionless body of a man later identified as Boniface Manono.
On 19 April Kenya’s High Court declared section 29 of Kenya’s Information and Communication Act incompatible with Kenya’s Constitution and thus declared it null and void. Section 29 criminalised publishing information online which was deemed unlawful by authorities and was often used to target journalists and bloggers.
Civic Space Developments