Police brutality, torture, drugs dealing in Lamu rights report
‘We have received reports of the excessive use of drugs and drug trafficking and cartels at the Coast... we have had police being implicated in the war on drugs’
Rights investigators yesterday said recent Coast hearings were dominated by issues of police brutality, torture, involvement in drug dealing and investigative methods violating international human rights standards.
KNCHR chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori yesterday said human rights violations by police and security agencies dominated hearings.
Independent Police Oversight Authority commissioner Vincent Kiptoo said police misconduct is rampant at the Coast.
For a month, the KNCHR has been crisscrossing Mombasa, Kwale, Tana River and Lamu. It will prepare a report for President Uhuru Kenyatta and parliamentary committees.
The report will also cover land injustices, gangs in Mombasa, clashes between pastoralists and farmers in Tana River and other issues.
Mgobori said, “In Lamu, we have received very disturbing incidents of torture. Some people have been arrested and incarcerated without charges being pressed for more than three months. For that time, many have reported having been tortured in detention cells,” she said
She said the commission is aware of detention centres in some counties, where inmates are tortured.
The commission boss said security problems have undermined businesses and employment and caused health problems such as depression.
“We have reports of excessive drug use, trafficking, and Coast cartels. In some cases police are implicated in the drugs war,” Mbogori said.
“Security agencies have become accomplices and agents of drug cartels instead of bringing the entire menace to a stop.”
Ipoa’s Kiptoo said there were reports of police involvement in drug dealing, undermining investigations.
“We note security agencies employ outlawed investigative methods in their work that don’t conform to international human rights standards,” Kiptoo said.
He said there are numerous allegations of officers using unplated vehicles or vehicles with covered plates during investigations and arrests.
“All security agencies should embrace the journey towards human rights compliance,” Kiptoo said. “Ipoa will work to ensure police reduce professional misconduct to conform to human rights standards and operate within the law.”
Numerous witnesses testified to abuses by police and security agencies in the name of fighting terror. They said Muslims were the primary victims of police misconduct.