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Kenyan lawyers declare week-long boycott over murder of colleague

Kenyan lawyers declare week-long boycott over murder of colleague

Kenya

The gruesome death of a human rights lawyer in Kenya, Willie Kimani, has led to a boycott of duty by lawyers under the aegis of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK)

The Standard Digital portal reports that the president of the LSK, Isaac Okero, has written officially to heads of various judicial divisions notifying them that the one-week boycott will paralyse legal operations across the country.

Okero’s letter also asks that no judicial action be taken against advocates taking part in the protest. The letter is quoted in parts as saying:

... to allow lawyers to mourn, show solidarity with the bereaved, apply pressure on the responsible State organs and attend to other related engagements.

‘‘That judicial officers take judicial notice of any absences of advocates from court as being subject to the ongoing week-long boycott. That no prejudice be visited on any lawyer or party who is absent from court or unable to proceed with any matter due to the ongoing week-long boycott.’‘

The LSK said it was seeking the co-operation of the judicial authorities in order, ‘‘to allow lawyers to mourn, show solidarity with the bereaved, apply pressure on the responsible State organs and attend to other related engagements.’‘

The lawyer in question is a human rights lawyer who was working on a police brutality case, he was abducted on June 23 and found drowned last Friday together with a taxi driver and the client he was representing.

The Kenyan police have since ordered the arrest of three officers involved in the assault case and have vowed to crack the whip on perpetrators of the crime. The LSK had earlier said they were outraged at the killing adding that it was not an isolated case given that other lawyers had complained of threats on their lives.

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Human Rights Watch call for probe

Human Rights Watch have called on the Kenyan government to immediately open a probe into the death of Willie Kimani who was a lawyer with the International Justice Mission (IJM)

According to Henry Maina, regional director at Article 19, Eastern Africa, “… these killings are coming before numerous similar allegations in other parts of the country have been adequately investigated is a matter of serious concern of the willingness of the Kenyan authorities to stem cases of police killings.”

“President Kenyatta must take decisive steps to assure Kenyans and the international community that the government is serious about addressing police killings,” he added.

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