Kenya: Rights Groups, Victims Sue State Over Curfew-Related Police Brutality

Police patrolling in Mandera town (file photo).
23 September 2020

Two human rights lobbies and five victims of alleged police brutality have sued the government for killings and use of excessive force allegedly perpetrated by security agencies while enforcing the dusk-to-dawn curfew meant to contain coronavirus spread.

In a petition filed at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi, Kituo Cha Sheria and Haki Africa say they want a declaration that victims of police brutality are entitled to compensation by the State.

Among the petitioners is Mr Hussein Moyo Molte whose 13-year-old son, Yassin Moyo, was fatally shot by police at the family home in Huruma estate, Nairobi on March 30, 2020.

Other petitioners are families of Judith Simiyu, Daniel Waithugi Ng'ang'a and Jackton Ouma Ochilo who are reported to have died due to police brutality.

Also on the list is Mr Joseph Siminyu, a person living with disability who was allegedly attacked by the police and beaten up.

They want to be compensated special damages totaling to Sh396,220 to cater for medical and burial expenses incurred.

They further want the court to compel the government to compensate them general and exemplary damages as a result of the actions and omissions of National Police Service officers.

Lawyer John Mwariri for Kituo Cha Sheria said Kenyans were beaten up, shot and teargassed by law enforcement agencies leading to serious injuries and deaths.

"Officers working under the Inspector General of Police failed to uphold their mandate and obligations by using excessive force on people who posed no danger and were unarmed, hence exhibiting lack of professionalism," he said.

In the case, the petitioners have named the police Inspector General, Cabinet Secretary for Interior and the Attorney General as respondents.

Amnesty International, International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) are listed as interested parties.

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