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’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - CHETI PRAXIDES @TheS­tarKenya

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.

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