Kenya rights activist killings to be probed by FBI

[JURIST] Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga [official profile, BBC profile] announced Monday that US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] agents from the US Embassy in Nairobi [official website] will assist in investigating [press release] the killing of two human rights activists last week. Odinga requested US assistance [Capital News report], recognizing that there would be a serious issue of credibility because the police themselves are among the list of suspects and stating that "the government [is] committed to uphold all fundamental rights and freedoms bestowed in the constitution of the country." On Friday, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) charged that the killing of human rights activists Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulu was part of a trend [AP report] to silence those who have denounced police human rights abuses and extrajudicial executions. The two men were officers for the Oscar Foundation [advocacy website], a group critical of the Kenyan government for its use of extra-judicial killings, and were killed in Nairobi [BBC report] Thursday following student protests against police.

On Friday UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions [official website] Philip Alston called for an independent investigation [JURIST report] into the killings. Alston also called for the resignation [Daily Nation report] of Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and Attorney General Amos Wako in light of the killings, but Ali rebuked Alston's call and said that the police were capable of investigating the murders without a special investigation. In February, Alston issued a report [text] on extra-judicial killings in Kenya in which he said that killings by the police in the country were "systematic, widespread and carefully planned," and that they were committed with "utter impunity." During his trip to the country, Alston met with Kingara, and the Oscar Foundation in 2007 issued its own report [text, JURIST report] claiming that police had killed more than 8,000 for their alleged connections to the Mungiki group.



 

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