A Kenyan police officer accused of killing two teenagers in cold blood in 2017 pleaded not guilty on Monday to murder charges in a case that has become emblematic of extrajudicial killings in the East African country.
The scene was filmed on 31 March 2017, before making the rounds on social networks, earning the policeman the nickname of "killer cop". It showed Ahmed Rashid, in civilian clothes, executing two young people lying on the ground in the Eastleigh district, on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, in broad daylight, in front of passers-by.
In November 2022, the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) recommended legal action against Ahmed Rashid after it conducted an investigation and found that the deaths "were caused by police action".
Ahmed Rashid denied the charges, telling a Nairobi court that he was a law-abiding police officer who was only doing his duty.
The court granted him bail in return for 200,000 shillings (about €1,350).
The Kenyan police are regularly accused of extrajudicial killings by Kenyan and international human rights organisations.
In particular, they have been accused of running hit squads targeting people, including lawyers, investigating alleged human rights violations by the security services.
According to the NGO Missing Voices, 1,349 people have died at the hands of the security forces since it began collecting data in 2007. Few investigations into these disappearances have resulted in convictions.
In October 2022, police officers were prosecuted for "crimes against humanity", including the killing of a baby, in the 2017 post-election violence. According to the Kenyan NGO National Human Rights Commission, 94 people were killed, 201 were sexually abused and more than 300 were injured. The violence was mainly attributed to the police.
Kenyan President William Ruto, elected in August, announced on 16 October the dismantling of the dreaded Special Services Unit (SSU), a police unit created 20 years ago and under fire after cases of enforced disappearances and killings. The head of state also promised an overhaul of the police.