• Among the cases they want investigated is the murder of Caleb Espino, a matatu tout who died in a police cell in September 2018.
• Autopsy showed a fracture due to blunt force trauma, bleeding within the brain and an injury on the upper spinal cord.
Civil Society Organisations at the Coast are pushing the United Nations to investigate various atrocities and human rights violations allegedly meted on residents by the police.
During a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial and Summary Executions Agnes Callamard in Mombasa, the human rights defenders asked the government to open doors for her to investigate extrajudicial killings in the region.
“So that the Coast and Kenya as a whole can have a legitimate platform to resolve these issues once and for all,” Coast Civil Society Network chair Zedekiah Adika said on Sunday.
He spoke after the meeting at the Haki Africa offices.
Among the cases they want investigated is the murder of Caleb Espino, a matatu tout who died in a police cell in September 2018.
Police allegedly killed Espino at Changamwe police station after he was arrested at a drinking den.
Callamard said she will raise the matter with authorities locally and internationally after Muslims for Human Rights deputy executive director Rahma Gulam briefed her on it.
Another case is the disappearance of Husni Mbarak, 18, on May 25, 2018.
He was allegedly picked up by four men in a white car near his father’s workshop in Majengo and has never been seen again.
On Sunday, Callamard–who is in Kenya on an unofficial visit–said she hopes her visit, upon invitation of the CSOs, will open the doors for future visits.
“I take the issue of police killing extremely seriously and the issue of impunity attached to police killings even more seriously, whether it is in Kenya or anywhere in the world,” she said.
She said the impunity attached to the use of violence by state officials creates a grave danger for society and destroys the rule of law.
“It destroys the trust and the bond between the people and the state and it undermines any kind of democratic institutions,” she said.
Callamard said it is worrying to hear of the existence of hit squads in Kenya and in other countries.
“I call them serial killers in uniform because I don’t believe that they should be called cops,” she said.
“In no way should we give credence and credibility to them representing the state. They are nothing else but serial killers using their uniforms to kill. They have taste for killing and they must be investigated and brought back to court and in prison where they belong."
I call them serial killers in uniform because I don’t believe that they should be called cops.Agnes Callamard
Collaboration of Women in Development executive director Betty Sharon said the Kenyan civil society is ready to work with the UN to eliminate human rights violations.
“We welcome the UN special rapporteur in the country and we will work to ensure she gets all the facts and figures right,” Sharon said.
Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid said they will write to the UN Special Rapporteur to officially invite her to probe the extrajudicial killings in the country.
They will also ask the Kenyan government to make her visit possible.
Espino was a husband and father of four.
Police initially denied they murdered Espino, frustrating investigations.
“Police said he had died from excessive drinking. When they failed to sell this line of argument, police started threatening four pathologists who were to operate on the body,” Gulam told Callamard.
Pathologists reported their phones got tapped in the days leading to postmortem which occurred on October 16 that year at Mombasa County Level 5 Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Two of the pathologists had to leave their phones behind to avoid police trace.
The autopsy, which lasted five hours, revealed Espino died of multiple injuries on the head, upper cervical spine of the neck and chest.
There was a fracture due to blunt force trauma, bleeding within the brain and an injury on the upper spinal cord.
Pathologists observed bleeding into both sides of the lungs and the back. A rib on the left chest had a fracture. There was also a tear within one of the lungs.
“This result, coupled by witnesses’ statement which Muhuri recorded, made police culpable of the murder,” Gulam said.
But police were still determined to block a possible prosecution and influenced the registry office against issuing a death certificate, Gulam said.
Police influence was evident in Siaya county where Espino was born and buried when a burial permit recorded the cause of death as malaria despite the autopsy result.
“Muhuri managed to change the cause of death and ensured Mombasa registry officer issued a death certificate,” Gulam said.
Efforts to have the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and Director of Public Prosecution charge the officer who murdered Espino have been unsuccessful, hence Muhuri's resolution to undertake a private prosecution.
Li Fung, a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said CSOs have a crucial role in promoting and protecting human rights.
She said the partnership between CSOs, the UN and the state is a crucial matter that needs to be developed.
Edited by R.Wamochie