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Transparency International welcomes key Kenya ruling on murder of lawyer, calls for police reform

Transparency International welcomes Kenya’s high court ruling that a human rights lawyer and his two associates were murdered by police, and calls for a full review of police procedures and investigations into extrajudicial killings.

In June, lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josphat Mwendwa and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri went missing after leaving a court in Mavoko. Their bodies were discovered in a river on 30 June, with indications they had been tortured.

On 11 August, Kenya high court Justice Luka Kimaru ruled that the three were abducted, detained and murdered by police. Four police officers are currently in custody, charged with the killings.

“This ruling presents a key opportunity for those fighting police impunity in Kenya. It should be the start of a thorough reform of Kenya’s police service,” said Samuel Kimeu, Executive Director of Transparency International Kenya. “Extrajudicial murder can never be an instrument of justice.”

Three in four Kenyans view the police as corrupt, making it the public institution perceived as the most corrupt in the country, according to Transparency International research.

“Kenya’s high court is right to recognise Willie Kimani as a ‘champion of justice’ for his relentless efforts to end disappearances and extrajudicial killings,” said Elena Panfilova, Vice-Chair of Transparency International. “Now is the time to put a stop to these illegal practices and give Kenyans a police service that fulfils its duty to protect citizens.”

* This release was updated on 12 August 2016.

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