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Bring extra-judicial police action to an end

By | April 27th 2010 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Human rights activists, police critics and others continue to face illegal detention and torture at the hands of security forces. Just five days ago, a prominent member of Release Political Prisoners was arrested by plain-clothes officers in Nairobi and held in custody on no charge to be tortured for reasons that remain unknown. It was only an outcry from fellow activists that led to the man’s release.

This is the sort of activity decried in the report by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings and Summary Executions, Philip Alston.

Whenever these incidents are reported, denials and assurances of professionalism are issued. At the same time, the rogue officers that maintain bloody order in the nation by trampling every law we have continue to do their deeds.

Legitimate security work does not require this kind of action. In returning to tactics reminiscent of the Nyayo House tortures, the police — or whatever elite squad is operating with free rein — lose the moral imperative necessary to battle organised crime or, indeed, do anything more than entrench State thuggery.

Innocent bystanders

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The stain of previous Kwekwe squad operations has yet to wash off the force, with the list of extrajudicial casualties including not just Mungiki criminals, but also innocent bystanders and, as was claimed by Mr Bernard Kiriinya, even policemen. Ignoring these abuses, which we have protested along with a myriad of bolder, better informed voices, is surrendering the State to squads of unaccountable gunmen.


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