Three Kenyan police held over disappearance of men in mistreatment case: media

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2016 7:09 AM

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Three Kenyan police officers have been detained over the disappearance of a lawyer and his client who had lodged a complaint about alleged mistreatment by the police, newspapers and broadcasters reported on Friday.

Rights groups have said they believe foul play is behind the disappearance of the men and their taxi driver - and demanded an investigation into that and other allegations of police corruption and heavy-handed tactics.

A police spokesman had no immediate comment on the arrests reported by Standard newspaper and other media outlets - or separate media reports on Thursday that the bodies of the missing men had been found in a river.

The men included lawyer Willie Kimani and his client Josephat Mwendwa who had filed a complaint that he was shot and injured by police in April. Mwendwa was then charged with a range of offences, including possessing drugs, gambling in public and resisting arrest, rights activists said.

They went missing with a taxi driver who picked them up after a June 23 court hearing.

The office of the police Inspector General said on Thursday that efforts to trace the men continued and if any crime was uncovered with links to police officers or others "the law will doubtless take its own course".

"There is credible evidence the men were, at some point, in the custody of Kenya’s Administration Police and may be victims of an enforced disappearance," New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

Members of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) marched to the Inspector General's office on Thursday to demand an investigation.

"It is becoming a pattern that people are disappearing without any trace and with no person taking responsibility," former LSK chairman Ahmednasir Abdullahi told Reuters.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Heavens)