A section of Eastleigh residents outside Milimani Law Courts buildings, business people, and university students protest the charging of police officer Rashid Ahmed in Connections with the killing of suspects, say restored order in the throbbing suburb. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

A police officer accused of extra-judicial killings has launched a fight for his life through a petition at the High Court to stop his prosecution.

Rashid Ahmed Hassan claims that the decision by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to have him charged with the murder of Jamal Mohammed and Mohammed Kheri is unlawful and discriminatory since he has not been accorded a fair chance to defend himself.

"I am not a criminal or a murderer as portrayed by IPOA. I am a law-abiding police officer and has never misused my firearm as claimed. The two deceased were criminals who were committing a robbery. Their murder does not amount to extra-judicial killing," said Hassan.

Through his lawyer Danstan Omari, the officer wants the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to review his decision to approve the murder charges proposed by Ipoa.

The police oversight agency had moved to court and obtained a summons for Hassan to appear in court on December 8 to plead to charges of murder where it is alleged that he killed Mohamed and Kheri on March 31, 2017, at Amal Plaza in the Eastleigh, Nairobi County.

But Omari argued that the decision to charge Hassan was not well founded since it is meant to punish him for doing his duties.

Amnesty International Executive Director Houghton Irungu flanked by Sarah Nyakio from Imlu address the press outside Milimani court buildings where they supported the charging of Pangani police officer Rashid Ahmed with the shooting dead two suspects in Eastleigh, Nairobi. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

"The officer has never been processed or summoned by IPOA to record his statement yet they are proceeding to charge him with murder. It is also discriminatory to single him out since the operation leading to the death of the two robbers was done by a team of police officers," said Omari.

According to the lawyer, Hassan had only acted to a police signal about an armed robbery at Amal Plaza in the Eastleigh when they stormed the building and were confronted by heavily armed criminals leading to a fire exchange.

Omari argued that the officer was out to save lives and property when the two robbers refused to surrender leading to their shooting.

"It is now more than six years since the incident happened, which makes the officer wonder about the turn of events. IPOA is not acting in good faith and have a bad motive to charge him with murder," said Omari.

Hassan, in his affidavit, denied claims of extra-judicial killings stating that from the time he was posted to Pangani Police Station in 2015 as an undercover police officer, he managed to contain several organised criminal gangs who terrorised area residents.

On the incident leading to the killing of the two suspects, Hassan said he was within Eastleigh area on that day when he received information of an ongoing robbery at Amal Plaza.

He summoned his team of other officers and when they reached the building, they were confronted by seven heavily armed robbers who started firing at them and in a bid to save lives he shot dead the two.

"Even Inspector General Japheth Koome, who at the time was the provincial police officer and our boss, confirmed that the two robbers who had been killed were part of a gang who were terrorising residents and traders," said Hassan.

His petition was supported by several members of the Eastleigh Business Community who swore affidavits accusing Ipoa and civil society groups of exerting pressure on the DPP to prosecute Hassan.

But IPOA and Amnesty International through country director Houghton Irungu dismissed the claims that they did not give Hassan enough time to defend himself.

"Hassan was summoned by IPOA 11 times but he did not show up. Even as he claims he has a right to be heard, the victims of his actions also have a right to justice," said Irungu.

He denied claims that IPOA and civil society groups are harbouring criminals by prosecuting police officers suspected of extra-judicial killings, stating that Hassan will have his day in court to defend himself after pleading to the charges of murder.