05 Jul 2016

Kenyan lawyers strike over 'extrajudicial killing' of lawyer Willie Kimani

Human rights lawyer Willie Kimani was found dead on Friday after lodging a complaint against local law enforcement.

Vitaly Suprun

The Law Society of Kenya has urged the nation’s lawyers to boycott courts this week and join together in solidarity and protest following the discovery of Mr Kimani’s body in Machakos County last week. The human rights lawyer went missing after lodging a brutality complaint against a local police officer on behalf of a client, whose body has also been found. The suspected murders have sparked calls for an end to ‘extrajudicial killings’ in Kenya from protesters in Nairobi and online, and have raised alarm bells among international organisations monitoring the status of human rights and justice in Kenya. ‘These extrajudicial killings are a chilling reminder that the hard-won right to seek justice for human rights violations is under renewed attack,’ said Muthoni Wanyeki of Amnesty International.

Police officers detained

A High Court judge has remanded three local police officers for a two-week period while an investigation into the deaths of Mr Kimani, his client and their taxi driver is carried out. Lawyers have been urged by the Law Society to boycott courts for the duration of this week, except for proceedings relating to the investigation. All hearings scheduled for this week have been adjourned until after the boycott ends. The case of Mr Kimani’s murder will return to court on 18 July.

Sources: BBC; Newsweek