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Kenya: Judge blames police for Pakistani journalist's death

Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif before recording an episode of his show at a studio in Islamabad, Pakistan, 15 December 2016   -  
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A Kenyan court ruled Monday that the shooting death of a Pakistani journalist by police in Nairobi in 2022 was unlawful and unconstitutional, a lawyer and the journalist's family said.

Judge Stella Mutuku also criticised Kenya 's attorney general and director of public prosecutions for their laxity in investigating the death of Arshad Sharif , after police opened fire on his car at a traffic checkpoint.

Arshad Sharif's family has accused an elite unit of the Kenyan police of intentionally killing Arshad Sharif. The 50-year-old journalist fled Pakistan earlier this year to avoid arrest in his country on charges of denigrating Pakistani national institutions.

In December 2022, a group of Pakistani investigators concluded that Sharif's murder was a "planned assassination" . Their report suggests that the bullet that fatally wounded Sharif was fired from inside the car or at close range.

Kenyan authorities continue to investigate the killing and none of the police officers involved in the shooting have been arrested or charged.

In its verdict on Monday, the court ordered Kenyan authorities to conclude their investigation into the police officers. It also ordered the government to compensate Sharif's family to the tune of 10 million Kenyan shillings ($78,000).

Dudley Ochiel, lawyer for Sharif's widow, Javeria Siddique, said the ruling was a "huge victory for the family and friends of this man in Kenya, Pakistan and around the world" .

Mr Ochiel said he expected the attorney general to bring charges against the two officers suspected of shooting Mr Sharif dead at the roadblock. The killing shocked Pakistan and thousands turned out for Mr Sharif's funeral days later.

Pakistan has said no state institution was involved in his death.

Ms Siddique, who filed the complaint against the Kenyan police along with Kenyan journalists' unions, said that although she knew her husband would not return, "at least now everyone knows he was killed intentionally" .

Police initially attributed the shooting to "mistaken identity" while searching for a similar car involved in a child abduction case .

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