Lawyers begin court boycott over killings
Lawyers start a one-week boycott of the courts on Monday to press for the prosecution of police officers accused of abducting and killing a lawyer, his client and a taxi driver in a suspected case of extrajudicial execution that has stunned the country.
They will be joined in the streets by members of the civil society to also push for the resignation of top police bosses, as well as make a statement on what they term growing impunity within the police.
The three victims — lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josphat Mwenda and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri — were abducted by unknown men on June 23 as Mr Mwenda, a boda boda rider, and his lawyer, Mr Kimani, left a courtroom in Mavoko.
Their bodies were discovered in a river in Machakos a week later.
Mr Mwenda had earlier accused an administration police officer of shooting him in the hand while trying to arrest him. The case was still pending in court.
It is alleged that the police officer could have been involved in the abduction of the two and their murder, their taxi driver only becoming an unfortunate bit of collateral damage in the process.
The Law Society of Kenya on Saturday said all courts in the country will come to a standstill starting Monday. There will also be demonstrations in different towns that will culminate in the handing of a petition to the Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinett.
LSK chairman Isaac Okero said lawyers will “down tools for a week to allow our members to attend court for pronouncement on the case and also express what this killing means for the LSK”.
On Sunday, government spokesman Eric Kiraithe urged the planners of the protests to inform the police of where they will hold them and where they intend to march.
“The government supports the street processions,” said Mr Kiraithe. “The police will provide adequate security but we would like to ask the organisers to notify the police early of where they will hold them.”
He also warned those planning to take advantage of the street protests to harass other Kenyans saying police would take action against them.
“We would like to warn those planning to use the processions to perform unlawful acts that action will be taken against them. We request organisers to be keen on who joins them and fish out strangers who may want to take advantage to do criminal acts,” he added.
And as the lawyers down their tools, the three APs suspected of killing the three men will be making their way to court.
Following a public outcry, investigations into the matter have been taken over by detectives from the Homicide Department at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters, who will on Monday ask the court to be allowed to detain the suspects longer as they finalise the investigations.
Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor, will conduct a postmortem of the three victims today and later release the report to the detectives.
The pathologist on Saturday postponed the autopsy because the bodies were badly decomposed and required a special X-ray to determine how they were killed.
On Sunday, detectives visited the AP post for the second time and secured the cell where the three were detained on June 23 before their bodies were found dumped in a river in Ol-Donyo Sabuk on Friday morning.