Lawyers and civil society groups protest against extra-judicial killings

Lawyers and members of civil society and human rights groups march in Nairobi to protest against extra-judicial killings. (PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/ STANDARD)

Lawyers and members of civil society started countrywide demonstrations yesterday to protest the killing of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a taxi driver.

They were joined by the families of Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri in demonstrations in Nairobi, with calls on police chiefs to resign over the murders.

The lawyers boycotted court sessions and joined the protests in most towns across the country.

Police provided security to the protesters as they marched in streets.

In Nairobi, the protesters started at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park and marched through Kenyatta Avenue, Moi Avenue, City Hall Way, Parliament Road and Harambee Avenue.

They dropped petitions at Office of the President and police headquarters calling for an end to extrajudicial killings.

Most protesters had white T-shirts flecked in red to symbolise bloodshed while others displayed purple ribbon. Those on the frontline carried three coffins which they dumped outside Harambee House.

They also carried placards condemning police killings.

Most courts were deserted countrywide following the protests, with litigants who turned up being referred to the registries to take new dates for their cases.

Led by the Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero, the lawyers vowed to continue with their protests.

"All victims of extra-judicial killings and forceful disappearance must get justice," said Okero outside the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Lawyer Fred Ojiambo, also spoke outside the Supreme Court, called for an end to extra-judicial killings.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights CEO Patricia Nyaundi said they will work with other lobby groups in ensuring human rights are upheld in Kenya.

Officials from International Justice Mission where Kimani worked said they had to pay cash bail for Mwenda after he was fraudulently charged in court in Mavoko.

Kimani, Mwenda and Muiruri had attended a hearing of a case on June 23 when they went missing. Their bodies were recovered from Ol-Donyo Sabuk River in Machakos County a week later.

Katiba Institute Executive Director Prof Yash Pal Ghai said "the protests are meant to express our anger against innocent killing of Kenyans."

He urged the Government to ensure justice is delivered to all the victims of torture in the country.

IMLU boss Peter Kiama said the protests will continue until the culture of death is stopped.

Muthoni Wanyeki from Amnesty International, former Justice minister and Narc leader Mather Karua and former KNCHR boss Maina Kiai joined the protest march.