Urgent Interventions

Kenya: assault, arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of 71 political activists

Case KEN 241001
Assaults / Arbitrary arrests / Incommunicado detention / Releases / Risk of torture

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Kenya.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the International Commission of Jurists (ICG), Kenya section, a member of the OMCT network, of the aggression, arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of 71 political activists, followed by the release on bail of five of their number, and the risk of torture for the 66 persons still being detained.

According to the information received, 71 members of the Release Political Prisoners (RPP) pressure group and their friends – comprising 66 men and 5 women - have been arrested as they were celebrating the so-called Mau Mau Day on October 20th 2001, being held to honour freedom fighters. The celebration was being held at the RPP’s compound. The police reportedly stormed into the compound and threw tear-gas grenades at the assembled crowd. They also reportedly assaulted a number of persons while they were arresting them.

The 71 people that were arrested are: Kivutha Kibwana, Mungai Kibe, Ng’ang’a Waweru, George Mutua, Kiilu, Stephen Musau, Peter Wambua, Johnstone Nyamu, Mercy Nyambura Kariuki, Peter Mutemi, Benson Mutiso, Aloise Muia, Mbara Kambara Kariuki, Kibuku kihura, Mukia Kamau, Githii Mweru, Daniel Muoti, Njoroge Wanguthi, Rahab Wairuri, Julius Mwaura, Kimani Waweru, Francis Njenga, Martin Mukeku, Francis Mutuku, Charles Nthanga, Gitau Wanguthi, Waweru Kariuki, Thungu Wakaba, Peter Nguma, Kennedy Kimeu, Julius Kariuki, Gathoni Kamau, Samuel Gikundi, Waruiru Mungai, Solomon Waithaka, George Ngige, Haron Keli, Joseph Muoki, Gathoga Njoroge, Munyae Mulinge Kioko, Theophilas Kiilu, Simon Mburu, Elijah Ochieng Solomon, William Mbuvi, Eric Mulevu, Silvanus Kikihu, Karori Njunge, George Mungi, Moses Mbugua, Kimani Ndegwa, Benjamin Muhesuni, Moses Karori, Kamonje Manje, Owino Amina, Nyongessa Omboko, Gitau Kung’u, Tony Ndolo, Orina Nyamwamu, Peter Maina, Joseph Bonzo, Tirop Kitur, Odhiambo Oyoko, Mwendwa Kibwana, Njoki Kamau, Henry Maiyo, Stephen Waweru, Nyamberi Bosire, Munga Gathogo, Mwangi Kimbathi, Wambua Kituku, Daniel Mathias Kingoo, Boaz Waruku.

According to the information received, these persons are being detained at the Kamiti Prison, having been accused of holding an unlawful assembly. Organisations and individuals who attempted to visit the detainees were refused access to them. Bail has been set at Kenyan Shillings 50,000, which is a sum that most of the detainees, who are mainly peasants, students or the unemployed, can’t afford. On October 23rd 2001, the Defence appealed to Chief Magistrate Boaz Olao to reduce the high level of the bail, but he has reportedly decided to delay announcing his ruling until Friday October 26th. This will have meant that the afore-mentioned persons will have been detained arbitrarily for seven days, in conditions under which OMCT fears that they may be being subjected to ill-treatment or torture.

Only five of the detainees have been able to gather the sum required to post bail. They are: Prof. Kivutha Kibwana (the National Convention Executive Council Co-convenor), Kibe Mungai (lawyer), Njoroge Wanguti (Chairman of RPP), Orina Nyamwamu (RPP Secretary General) and Tirop Kitur (RPP founding member).

The International Secretariat of the OMCT condemns the violence used by the police during the arrests and remains gravely concerned about the possible ill-treatment or torture that they may be being subjected to during their incommunicado detention.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Kenya urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the 66 people still being detained;
ii. intervene with the appropriate authorities in order to secure that those detained be allowed to meet with their relatives and/or lawyers;
iii. order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;
iv. put an immediate end to the persecution and harassment of the Release Political Prisoners pressure group;
v. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.


· Major Marsden Madoka, Minister of State, Office of the President, PO Box 30510, Nairobi, Kenya, Fax: 00254 / 2 / 337340

· Amos Wako, General Attorney, State Law Office, Harambee Avenue, PO Box 40112, Nairobi, Kenya, Fax: 00254 / 2 / 211082

Please also write to the embassies of Kenya in your respective country.

Geneva, October 24th, 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.