2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


Kenya

780. By letter dated 17 October 2002, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001 regarding which no reply had been received.

Urgent appeals

781. On 24 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Representative on human rights defenders on behalf of Dr. Moses Njue, the Central Provincial Pathologist in Nyeriand and Dr. Andrew K Gachie, an independent pathologist, who were said to have received threats and to have been threatened with de-registration for making a finding of torture in a post-mortem report in the case of the late Paul Kimani Wambiru, who was reportedly arrested for theft in Endarasha in March 2002. He was held at Muiga Police Station and subsequently at Nyeri Police Station. He was found dead on 25 March on the street in Nyeri. On 4 April 2002 the post-mortem was conducted by the two above-mentioned doctors. Dr Gachie appeared for the family and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), an independent non- governmental organisation partner of the International Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims. They are said to have found the left testicle crushed, and the bladder and intestines ruptured. The findings included peritonitis, bilateral haemothorax (blood in lung cavity), facial bruising and subconctival haemorrhages. The injuries were determined to have been inflicted by blunt objects and they concluded that the cause of death was torture in police custody. The body was buried and five policemen were arrested and charged with murder. The accused requested a repeat post-mortem and an exhumation was conducted two weeks later. The Chief Government Pathologist, who appeared in his private capacity, found the cause of death was brain inflammation. On 2 May, the Director of Medical Services in Kenya and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health called a press conference at which they threatened to de-register Drs. Njue and Gachie for lying. On 3 May, Drs. Njue and Gachie were summoned to the Ministry of Health and asked to harmonise their report with the one of the Chief Government Pathologist. The two doctors refused, and in response Dr Njue was dismissed as Provincial pathologist. On 7 May, the Attorney General obtained a court order barring reburial (planned for 8 May) and ordered a third post-mortem, which eventually took place on 8 May. This postmortem confirmed the torture-related injuries. It is nevertheless reported that this post-mortem report will not be made public. The Director of Medical Services has now stated that doctors working in the Kenyan Civil Service and in the University may no longer carry out post-mortems for IMLU.

782. On 6 November 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Representative on human rights defenders on behalf of HUREDICA Violence Victims Organisation, a non-governmental organisation that documents and files claims on behalf of victims of acts of violence. On 26 October 2002, five officers from the Ciminal Investigation Department reportedly raided the offices of this organisation in Nakuru. Officers were said to have confiscated documents and files containing evidence on ethnic violence. Three officials from HUREDICA were reportedly arrested: Kinuthia, the acting Chairman, Joseph Kairo Mbugua, the organizing secretary, and John Ikuma Kariuki, the Njoro area representative. It was alleged that they were interrogated and intimidated into abandoning any claims filed against the Government. On 1st November, 16 police officers reportedly raided the offices of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) in Monbasa and confiscated files containing information on the Likoni/Kaa Ya Bombo clashese in 1997. These two incidents reportedly followed the release on 18 October of the Akiwumi Commission of Inquiry report on politically instigated violence which holds military, government and law enforcement officials responsible for numerous human rights violations that took place between 1991 and 1998.

Observations

783. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the response of the Government (E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, paras 85 to 104) to the recommendations formulated in his predecessorís mission report (E/CN.4/2001/66/Add.1) and he would appreciate continuing to receive information on measures taken to implement the recommendations included in this report.

784. The Special Rapporteur regrets that no response has been provided to cases brought to the attention of the Government since 1996 as well as to the numerous cases included in the annex of his predecessorís mission report in 1999 (E/CN.4/2000/9/Add.4).

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small logo   This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.