It's witchhunt! Omari on detention of cops in abduction case

15 police officers are linked with abduction of two Indians, a taxi driver

In Summary
  •  Omari claimed that no rule of procedure has been followed in handling the case.
  • "We had indicated from the first day the SSU officers were arrested. This is politics, this is witch hunt. It is an attack on the profession of the police," he said.

Lawyer Danstan Omari has said the actions carried against the 15 police officers linked with the abduction of two Indians and a taxi driver is a witchhunt.

Addressing the media on Tuesday at the Kahawa Law Courts after the officers were directed to Kiambu Prisons for detainment, Omari claimed that no rule of procedure had been followed in handling the case.

"We had indicated from the first day the SSU officers were arrested. This is politics, this is a witchhunt. It is an attack on the profession of the police," he said.

The lawyer said the officers, who are drawn from various agencies including DCI's disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU), the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), have been treated like criminals since their arrest.

"These are heroes of this country and I want to put to notice the public that how the police officers, not only these are being handled is going to be a national, serious, security issue," he said.

He outlined the timeline of the case, noting that the officers had been released after a long detainment because the state had no case.

After a fresh charge, the 15 were detained for 21 days and released on bond terms including Sh1 million cash bail with an alternative of Sh3 million bond.

This was, however, contested by the state, who through Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Sang argued, among other issues, that the court made a mistake by failing to recognise that torture, enforced disappearance and murder are identified as crimes against humanity by the Rome Statute.

Kenya domesticated the statute by the enactment of the International Crimes Act No 16 of 2008.

Acknowledging that the Kiambu High Court granted the prosecution orders suspending the ruling that granted the officers bail, Omari said they have moved to the Court of Appeal for redress.

"We have moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the judge to deny our clients bail and we are determined to present the police officers to the Supreme Court because they are citizens of this country. They cannot be discriminated or harassed," he said.

"They also enjoy the same principle that every accused person is innocent till proven guilty. We will ensure that Article 27 applies generally to the officers of the National Police Service Commission."

Article 27 (1) states that "Every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law."

At the same time, he faulted the state for an attempted suspension of 67 police officers for allegedly receiving bribes and other malpractices.

On November 15, Head of Public Service Felix Koskei directed Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome to suspend the officers on the recommendation of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The officers, however, moved court to have the directive suspended citing violations of disciplinary procedures as outlined in the National Police Service Act.

Through Omari, they sought orders to suspend Koskei's directive saying it would also violate their right to fair administrative action as they were not even apprised of the decision to suspend them.

Justice Chacha Mwita, having read the application, granted the orders.

"A conservatory order is hereby issued restraining the respondents from implementing the directive communicated through the letter dated November 10 by the first respondent recommending the suspension of the interested parties until further orders of this court," Justice Mwita said in the orders dated November 20.

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