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Investigations

Murdered Lawyer Was To Release Damaging Information on Police Brutality

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Willie sharing a moment with his son

Willie sharing a moment with his son

Following days of the relentless search for the missing lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a taxi driver, our worst fears were confirmed when their bodies were found decomposing in Oldonyo Sabuk river.

Lawyer Willie Kimani and his client Josephat Mwendwa had filed a complaint alleging that Mwendwa had been shot and injured by police in April. Mwendwa was then charged with a range of offences, including possessing drugs, gambling in public and resisting arrest, Human Rights activists said.

The two went missing along with Joseph Muiruri, a driver who picked them up after a court hearing on June 23.
The 32-year-old lawyer Willie Kimani was admitted to the bar in 2011 in his five-year tenure as an advocate of the High Court; he specialised in human rights organisations and the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA).

Josephat Mwendwa, Willie's client

Josephat Mwendwa, Willie’s client

Police brutality in Kenya has continued to heighten with the oversight body receiving heaps of complaints from the public on rogue police. As an investigator, according to his colleague speaking to Kenya Insights, Willie had a lot of dirt on rogue cops and was set to release information that would put senior officers, including the one implicated in his fatal end, in deep trouble.

Another complainant contacted K.I lamenting on inaction and treachery at IPOA, he claims some of the officials are easily compromised and would sell out those who lodged complaints against any brutal police officer.

Willie remained a pain in the neck and a stumbling block for most rogue cops, and he couldn’t be compromised. His daring will and dedication towards fighting for human rights and enthusiasm against police brutality put him in trouble and a target for the brutal police force. He was an investigator at International Justice Mission (IJM) for one and a half years before joining IPOA, where he majored in investigations on police brutality and sexual violence against children.

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Joseph Muiruri, the taxi driver

Joseph Muiruri, the taxi driver

The 32-year-old started his career as an intern at Release Political Prisoners, now the Rights Promotion and Protection Center and later took up the position of a legal officer. He was also a board member.

His passion for fighting for the protection of victims of torture and extrajudicial killings drew him to the Independent Medico Legal Unit before he joined IPOA.

His murder now brings to light the elite killer squad that many agree are in the police force. Extra-judicial killings have taken the toll in the near past with the latest victim being businessman Jacob Juma whose shooting was attributed to the killer squad too.

Lawyers and Civil Society have both joined hands in the wake of Willie’s murder and are now not only calling for the disbandment of the killing unit but also the dismissal of top police leadership from the Inspector General Joseph Boinnet and Criminal Investigations Director, Muhoro to the Interior Security CS.

Increasing extra-judicial killings have also rattled the foreign envoys who’ve jointly issued a stark warning to the government to look into the matter which is now getting out of hand.

IG Joseph Boinnet identified the cops being held over the murders as Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Chebulet and Silvia Wanjiku.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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