Tor­ture by cops is on the rise – IMLU sur­vey

Of­fi­cers from KWS and chiefs are also listed as those who mis­treat Kenyans

The Star (Kenya) - - Pol­i­tics Gen­eral - RA­MAD­HAN RA­JAB @Rra­jab

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.

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