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Police under fire over abuses

NAIROBI
By Philip Mwakio | November 22nd 2013

By Philip Mwakio

A report released by the Open Society Justice Initiative and Mombasa-based Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri)  highlights human rights abuses allegedly committed by Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU).

The report urges the Government to hold ATPU officers accountable. It also calls on foreign donors to encourage the ongoing police reforms and to withhold assistance to ATPU units over the  abuses.

The report titled, ‘We are tired of taking you to the court’ notes that the threat of terrorism in Kenya is real, as attested  to by the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall recently.

The report asks the government to deepen investment in counter-terrorism strategies that are supportive of human rights.

“Resorting to unlawful acts in an effort to fight terrorism is counterproductive,’’ it says.

The report’s title comes from comments made to a suspect who was detained during an ATPU operation in Mombasa in 2012. He was allegedly told: “We’re tired of taking you to the court. Next time we’ll finish you off in the field.”

The report notes that in addition to the Westgate shopping mall attack, terrorist attacks have been on the rise since late 2011, when Kenya sent military forces into Somalia to fight Al Shabaab.

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The United States Embassy reported that in 2012 there were over 30 attacks involving grenades or explosive devices in the country.


 

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