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March 24, 2018

Cops top list of perpetrators of violence, torture against Kenyans - Study

A file photo of cops who assaulted Boniface Manono during anti-IEBC demos in May. /FILE
A file photo of cops who assaulted Boniface Manono during anti-IEBC demos in May. /FILE

Police officers are responsible for 61.4 per cent of torture cases in the country, a report released on Monday has stated.

The report also shows that AP officers account for 20 per cent of the cases whereas local chiefs and county askaris took part in 13.5 per cent of the same.

Some 4.7 per cent were found to have been perpetrated by prison warders.

The National Torture Prevalence Survey shows that such cases are on the rise in the country compared to those studied in 2011.

Peter Kiama, executive director, Independent Medico and Legal Unit said the cases have increased at an alarming rate.

"The stark reality faced by many Kenyans is that torture and ill-treatment remain tools used for coercion and manipulation by the country’s security and law enforcement agencies," Kiama said.

Read: Police criticised as extrajudicial killings increase

The study shows that torture cases are prevalent in Nairobi, Western and Nyanza regions.

It also showed new dynamics that are being used by perpetrators of torture to commit the unlawful act.

It emerged that 25 per cent of the respondents said that they sustained physical injuries.

"Some 23.8 per cent were denied access to medical treatment and 20.3 per cent were forced to stand, squat or perch for long periods," the report states.

"Various stakeholders indicated that beatings, shootings and strangulations are the new methods being used," Infotrak CEO Angela Ambitho said while presenting the data.

The torture cases were mostly conducted in police cells (39.4 %) and at home (31.5%).

Some reported being tortured on their way to the police station (21.6%), at the time of arrest (19.6) while 9.2% in remand facilities.

Police spokesperson Charles Owino, who attended the launch of the report, said that he was not in agreement with some the facts that were shared.

"We cannot be cry babies all the time about torture cases then we go back home and torture our wives," he said.

"Since reforms began in the police service, these cases are on the decline,"Owino said.

The police spokesperson however welcomed the report saying it will guide the service in areas of improvement.

"We are going to use it to better the country," Owino added.

Read: Nkaissery blasts media for unfair police criticism after extrajudicial killings report

In the study, 33% of torture victims said they had did not know why they were tortured while 53.2% said they were tortured to reveal information about something or someone or make a confession. 

It was also evident that more people reporting these cases at police stations (70.3%) and to the chief (15.1%) have no seen action being taken on their reports after recording their statements. 

At least 2400 respondents were interviewed.

The rights lobby groups want parliament to pass the prevention against torture bill to curb such cases and end extrajudicial killings.


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