Torture by cops is on the rise – IMLU survey
Officers from KWS and chiefs are also listed as those who mistreat Kenyans
In well-functioning systems, police act as protectors and their presence gives a peace of mind.
However, to many Kenyans, including Joyce Andeyo, the sight of police officers invokes fear and anxiety.
The mother of three has been in hiding for two weeks, after police officers who broke her arm and tortured her at Kandisi police camp in Ongata Rongai and threatened to kill her if she does not withdraw a case against them.
“On 19 August, three officers from Kandisi police camp came to my kibanda and started beating me up. One twisted my hand and the others punched me. They took me to the camp and later to Ongata Rongai police station where I was transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment,” she said.
“Since then it has been torment and threats from the officers and I have had to run away.”
Andeyo is among the 727 of the 2,400 surveyed respondents who have been victims of torture in the last five years covered in the National Torture Prevalence Survey 2016 released yesterday.
The survey commissioned by the Independent Medico Legal Unit shows that is a seven per cent increase in torture prevalence compared to a 2011 survey, despite freedom of torture and ill treatment being a right under the Constitution and international law.
Regular police are ranked as the highest perpetrators of torture at 59 per cent, followed by AP officers at 18 per cent, the survey states. Local chiefs and county government officials are ranked at 13 per cent and eight per cent respectively. Others are prison wardens, army, special police squads, private militia funded by the state, National Intelligence Service and Kenya Wildlife Service rangers.
“Sadly, most of these incidences the report shows occurred in the context of law enforcement; 39 per cent of incidences happened in police cells, 31 per cent at home, 21 per cent on the way to the police station and 19 per cent at the time of arrest,” IMLU executive director Peter Kiama said.
The report shows strangulation, beatings, scalding, scarring and shootings were the main forms of torture. Threats, intimidation and abductions are used for psychological torture.
Police spokesperson Charles Owino, who was at the launch, received and welcomed the report.
He said they will use the police internal affairs unit to investigate the cases. Owino urged the Independent Policing Oversight Authority to take up the complaints and ensure the responsible officers are prosecuted.