Monson family to hire UK detective to probe death
THE family of Alexander Monson, who died in police custody in Diani in late May, plans to hire a senior British private investigator to help uncover circumstances leading to his death. They are pressing for an independent authority to take charge of the investigations into Monson's death. At the same time, the family has launched a foundation in Monson's memory and to raise money to assist victims of state-perpetrated abuses.
In a report published by UK’s Daily Mail, and written by Alexander’s sister, Isabella Monson, she said the family was campaigning at the highest levels of the Kenyan and British governments to have the case finalised and justice served. “And if the police force is unable to conduct an investigation, we have called for an independent authority to take charge. My father (Nicholas Monson) is in discussions with a senior British official with a track record of investigation, whom he hopes will agree to bring his expertise to the case,” her statement read in part.
While describing Monson, whose remains were cremated in Mombasa, as a gentle man who always smiled even in death, Isabella said she has started spending time at the Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Nairobi. The unit’s mandate is to campaign against state-perpetrated torture and help victims and their families with counseling, medical and legal assistance.
Yesterday, the District Criminal Investigations Officer Mwenda Ethiaba said the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko, who is still scrutinising the file forwarded to him on the death, will give a final word on the incident. In the post, several readers made "not so good remarks" about the Kenya police and reforms, noting that it is unfortunate that Monson had to die in such a state.
“It is unfathomable how such a gentle man could have met such a violent end. I never saw Alexander(Monson) angry. His whole life had shown him that charm and kindness worked…I couldn’t bear to see the body, but his best friend did. He told me Alexander was smiling. His smile was his trademark in life. It speaks volumes that he retained it despite the circumstances of his death,” said Isabella.
The family also said the Alexander Monson Foundation that has been set up will be a charitable organisation that will raise money to help others suffering from state-perpetrated abuses, while the Monty’s Justice Fund will aid the family with the financial burden of private investigation and legal assistance. “We will never stop fighting to get justice for Alexander. It will not bring him back, but it might help to set a precedent. There are numerous tragic cases of extrajudicial killings. Sadly, so many of them are never solved. But my work with IMLU has at least shown me the speed of reforms within Kenyan society. As far as the police force is concerned, the most significant development has been the formation of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority to investigate cases of brutality, misconduct and deaths in police custody,” added Isabella.
The report prepared by CID investigation director Mohammed Amin confirmed that Monson died from increased pressure in his skull following a blow to the head. He, however, admitted that they did not know how, where or when he was hit, or by who. The report was submitted to Tobiko on June 19 with a recommendation for a public inquest into Monson's death. The family has, however, said that will be a waste of funds and resources, and instead demanded for a murder inquest.