Urgent Interventions

Release of Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya

New information
KEN 002 / 0808 / OBS 135.1


August 19, 2008

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Kenya.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Kenyan Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) about the release of Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya, who participated in documenting human rights violations in Mount Elgon Hospital Kitale (Western Province of Kenya) in regard to Mount Elgon torture cases[1].

According to the information received, on August 14, 2008, Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya went to the Provincial Criminal Investigations Officers in Kakamega, where he had been summoned (See background information). The police then told him to write a report on his involvement in the Mt. Elgon torture allegations made by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). It has to be noted that it is not procedural for police to summon someone in a different province from the one he is based (Eldoret is in Rift Valley Province while Kakamega is in the Western Province). The police therefore should have summoned him in Eldoret town if it was a genuine case, which makes one believe that these acts only intended to intimidate and prevent him from carrying out his human rigths activities.

The police later took his report and after consultation they let him leave the police station at 7 pm. They added that they would contact him in case they needed any additional information. Dr. Nalianya was forced to spend the night in Kakamega as Eldoret, his home town, is about 200 kilometers away.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya, and wishes to thank all the persons, organisations, and institutions that intervened in his favour.

Background information:

Early on 14 August 2008, Dr. Wekesa Nalianya, a registered doctor with the Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board (registration number A. 4018) practising at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, was summoned by police and taken to Kakamega’s Provincial Criminal Investigation Office (PCIO). The police allege that Dr. Wekesa Nalianya is not registered under private practice and thus ought not to have documented the Mount Elgon torture allegations.

Dr. Wekesa Nalianya reportedly documented human rights violations in Mount Elgon Hospital Kitale for the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights’ (KNCHR) report, which was released in May 2008. He has also actively collaborated with IMLU, a registered NGO working for the rights of torture victims in Kenya, on examining torture cases.

Actions required:

Please write to the Kenyan authorities, urging them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya;
  2. Put an end to all acts of harassment against Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya as well as against all human rights defenders in Kenya;
  3. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
  4. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Kenya.


  • Hon. Mwai Kibaki, The President, Republic of Kenya, P.O. Box 30050 00100 - Harambee Avenue Nairobi, Kenya, Fax: +254-020-243620, Email:
  • Right Hon. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister, Republic of Kenya, P.O. Box 30050 00100, Nairobi, Kenya, Email:
  • Hon. George Saitoti, Minister for Internal Security, Harambee Avenue, P.O. Box 30510, Nairobi 00200, Kenya, Tel: +254-020-227411
  • Major General Hussein Ali, Commissioner of Police, Kenya Police Headquarters, Vigilance House, Harambee Avenue, P.O. Box 30083, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel: +254-020-341411/6/8, Email:,
  • Hon S. Amos Wako, Attorney General, State Law Office, Harambee Avenue, P.0. Box 40112, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel.: +254-020-227461
  • Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Mrs. Jaoko e-mail
  • Hon. Martha W. Karua, E.G.H., M.P., Ministry of Justice, Haile Selassie Avenue,
  • P.O. Box 56057, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel.: 254-20-224029, Email:
  • Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations in Geneva, Av. de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Genève, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 731 29 05, E-mail:
  • Embassy of Kenya in Brussels, 208 av. W. Churchill, 1180 Uccle, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 340 10 50 / + 32 2 340 10 68. Email:

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

Geneva - Paris, August 19, 2008

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax: FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax: OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29


[1] In this regard, see OMCT Action File: KEN040608.ESCR. OMCT had received information from IMLU and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), both members of OMCT SOS Torture Network, concerning torture and extra-judicial killings by the Kenyan Army and Police in the Mount Elgon District in the context of operations against the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), a guerrilla militia. In March 2008, the Kenyan Army was deployed in the Mount Elgon area to clamp down on the activities of the SLDF in an action called “Operation Okoa Maisha”. It has resulted in mass arrests and the subsequent prosecution of over 1200 persons.

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