Recently, Christian human rights attorney, Willie Kimani, his client, and their cab driver were kidnapped and murdered in Kenya. Four corrupt police officers have just been charged with murder. But justice is not yet served.
These crimes were not random. Their murders were an attempt to silence those who sought to hold corrupt public officials accountable in Kenya.
Kimani, an attorney for the Christian organization International Justice Mission, had joined a case in which an innocent man was falsely accused of a crime and subsequently shot by police, to ensure justice in the face of charges against those in power. Throughout the legal proceedings, Kimani and the other attorneys faced immense amounts of illegal pressure by rogue administration police officers.
But the corruption took a deadly turn when Willie Kimani, his client, and their taxi driver were abducted while leaving Mavoko Law Court following a hearing relating to the case. The three men were subsequently tortured, held, and eventually murdered. Their bodies were recovered from a local river.
Lawyers play a major role in ensuring that the victims of human rights violations are adequately protected and the perpetrators are brought to justice. According to Kenyan and international law, lawyers must be guaranteed independence and non-interference. Those who tried to silence Willie Kimani must be held accountable. Human rights defenders must be guaranteed safety.
Just like Kimani, our lawyers at the East African Centre for Law and Justice (EACLJ), on the ground in Kenya, are involved in suits against powerful governmental officials. Right now we are litigating case on behalf of young Kenyan girls mutilated and sold into slavery as child brides at the hands of powerful men. (You can join our legal efforts for these young Kenyan girls by signing our petition here.)
The EACLJ has been working around the clock to exert pressure on police and authorities to act in the name of justice. We are working with the Law Society Council in Kenya to take the lead on behalf of the families, advocates, and civil society. The Law Society successfully compelled the police to produce the bodies of Willie and his client by filing a writ of habeus corpus, so they could receive a proper burial. The suspects in his tragic case have been arraigned in court, and more suspects are under investigation. The scope and the scale of the abuse by officers are only just being unearthed. The Law Society Council has called upon human rights organizations to offer pro bono assistance to many victims who have since come forward following forced disappearances of their loved ones at the hands of rogue police officers.
We’re working to help ensure that human rights defenders are protected, justice is met on behalf of these victims, and all the perpetrators are brought to justice, even if they are public officials.
Ensuring fairness and justice in the Kenyan judicial system is vital for our clients, as well as for our local attorneys who are litigating against corrupt and abusive public officials engaged in mutilating and enslaving young Kenyan girls.
That’s why we are writing critical legal letters to Kenya’s Ambassadors and taking these cases to the United Nations. The plight of the persecuted depends upon it. We must keep fighting for justice. Join us in the fight today. Shine a light into the darkness. And Be Heard.
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