Killing of lawyer in Kenya

Who we wrote to

The president of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.

What’s the issue

On 23 June 2016, Willie Kimani went missing along with his client, Josephat Mwenda, and taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri after leaving a hearing at the Mavoko court in Machakos County.

We understand that their bodies were recovered seven days later on a riverbank. According to a pathologist, Mr Kimani’s body showed signs of torture.

Before the murders, on 10 April 2015, Mr Mwenda was allegedly shot by an Administration Police officer from Syokimau Administration Police Camp during a traffic stop.

Mr Mwenda was taken into custody and charged with “being in possession of narcotic drugs”, “gambling in a public place” and “resisting arrest”.

We understand he filed a complaint regarding these occurrences. On 13 December 2015, Mr Mwenda was charged with six traffic offences, allegedly in response to his complaint. Mr Kimani represented Mr Mwenda in respect of these charges.

We understand that three police officers suspected of being involved in the disappearance and murder of Mr Kimani, his client and the taxi driver, have been detained.

We understand that some steps have been taken regarding the criminal investigation into this case, but that further investigation is required to bring the perpetrators to justice.

What we asked for

We urged the president to:

  • continue the investigation into the murder of Mr Kimani in an independent and effective manner and to bring the perpetrators to justice in a trial which respects the rules of due process
  • ensure the safety of lawyers, human rights defenders, and their families, so that they can carry out their professional duties without hindrance, harassment or intimidation

We’ll continue to monitor the investigation into the murder of Mr Kimani, as well as the situation of lawyers and human rights defenders in Kenya.

Timeline

April 2015 – Mr Mwenda was allegedly shot during a traffic stop

December 2015 – Mr Mwenda was charged with six traffic offences

June 2016 – Mr Kimani went missing along with his client and taxi driver

July 2016 – their bodies were recovered on a riverbank