Kenyan lawyer who went missing found dead


willy-missing-486x445The bodies of three men who disappeared after last being seen at a police station in Kenya were discovered dumped in a river on Friday.

One of the men, a Kenyan lawyer who was representing a client making a complaint against the police, Willie Kimani was found with his hands and legs tied at the bottom of the Ol Donyo Sabuk River outside of Nairobi.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has termed Willie Kimani’s death was a “dark day for the rule of law in Kenya”.

“Our worst fears are confirmed. Advocates and citizens are at risk of elimination by police death squads,” said LSK president Isaac Okero.

Mr Kimani, who was 32, went missing along with his taxi driver and client after a court appointment over a week ago, the LSK said.

The body was identified by friend and fellow lawyer Duncan Kinuthia. “I was in school with Willie Kimani, he was my senior and having known him for long, I can say that he is the one,” Kinuthia said after visiting the mortuary. Family members were expected to formally identify the body later on Friday.

Next to him was the body of Joseph Muiruri, a taxi driver who disappeared with Mr. Kimani last week. Witnesses said Mr. Muiruri’s eyes had been gouged out.

The third body found was that of Josephat Mwenda, a motorcycle taxi driver who had filed the complaint against the police officer, a dangerous move in Kenya.

On Thursday, the inspector general of the national police service George Kinoti said that investigations would be pursued.

“In the event that a crime is disclosed linking any person, whether police officer or otherwise, the law will doubtless take its own course,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Kimani, 32, a father of two young boys, served as an investigator for the International Justice Mission, a global organization that strives to protect poor people from violence. He had been assigned to help Mr. Mwenda, who had accused the police of harassing him for more than a year after he filed a report that an officer had unlawfully shot him in the arm.

Mr. Mwenda and Mr. Kimani appeared last Thursday in a court on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. After they left the courthouse in Mr. Muiruri’s taxi, family members could not reach them on their cellphones.

Hours later, colleagues said, at least two of the men were seen at a remote police station, locked in a metal container, shouting for help. One of the men threw a note out a window. It had been hastily scribbled on toilet paper.

It read: Call my wife. I’m in danger.

Police chief Joseph Boinnet said on Friday that three officers had been arrested in connection with the killing, including an unnamed senior officer involved in the legal case.

“I have ordered the arrest of three police officers suspected to be linked to the disappearance of lawyer Kimani and his associates to assist in the investigations,” Boinnet said.

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