NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Hundreds of Kenyans including human rights activists, lawyers and taxi operators peacefully protested Monday against what they said are pervasive killings linked to police, as a court ordered three police officers be held for two weeks on charges they murdered three men.
Demonstrators demanded an end to extra judicial executions by police, which they said are common. Protesters took a petition to police headquarters, parliament, the president's office and the Supreme Court.
"We are here to loudly and unequivocally protest what we know is the policy of the Kenya government of extra judicial killings and forced disappearances of suspects, human rights defenders as well as anyone who stands against the government or in any case seems to threaten the status quo," said Human Rights activist al-Amin Kimathi.
The protests were sparked off by the murder of three men, including a human rights lawyer, linked to the three officers. A court ordered the three officers be held without bail for two weeks for investigations to be completed.
Lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri bodies' were pulled out of a river Friday after being missing since June 23. Kimani was defending Mwenda against several charges human rights activists say were fabricated to cover up that a policeman illegally shot him in April 2015.
"Many Kenyans routinely face illegal arrests and either pay bribes to police to be released or plead guilty to charges to avoid a long drawn out case," said James Kironji of International Justice Mission, the U.S.-based rights group Kimani worked for.
"Josephat was an exceptional man. He decided to go against the grain and wasn't intimidated by the false charges and aided by IJM (International Justice Mission), he went ahead to complain to the Independent Police Oversight Authority, this is because he had faith that the law will protect him," Kironji said.