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Policeman in Kenya sentenced to seven years in prison

January 2024

With IJM's support, a court in Kenya has convicted a police officer for the brutal killing of 33-year-old Kingori Kanyi.

Two weeks before his death, Kanyi had refused to buy a policeman a beer at a local bar - leading to an altercation.

Following this, four policemen broke down the door to his house in the middle of the night and ordered Kanyi to come out.

As Kanyi came out with his hands in the air, he was shot twice in the chest. His body was found in a coffee plantation the following morning.

In a bid to cover up the crime, the perpetrator and his colleagues falsely alleged that Kanyi had attacked the policeman with a machete - forcing him to shoot in self-defense.

When IJM Kenya learnt of Kanyi’s case, a team of dedicated lawyers began working alongside the prosecution to get justice for his grieving family.

IJM counsellors also supported Kanyi’s elderly parents and his wife, who had been left with two young toddlers in her care.  

IJM lawyer Edward Mbanya argued in court that the officer – who had training on how to use firearms - acted unlawfully and contravened his police training and the National Police Service Act.

The judge convicted him of manslaughter, ruling that the policeman hadn't intended to kill Kanyi but to arrest him when he went to his house that night.

"There was no urgency on the matter to necessitate them to go and effect an arrest at midnight... I find the circumstances of this case such that the force used was excessive,” the judge said.

The verdict offers much-needed solace and a sense of closure to the family, who pursued justice for eight years.
It also serves as a significant milestone in the fight against police brutality and the abuse of power in Kenya. It reaffirms that no one is above the law, including those entrusted with its enforcement.

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On the 5 Year Anniversary of IJM Lawyer Willie Kimani's Death, we are as committed as ever to seeing justice for both the victims and the suspects of police abuse of power. Justice has been delayed for too long.

Survivors and Justice Centres unite to demand end to Police Brutality in Kenya

COVID-19 curfews have led to a surge in cases of police violence in Kenya. IJM and partners have recorded 23 possible deaths as a result of police brutality during the curfew period alone. IJM Kenya and others in the Police Reforms Working Group have released statements against this abuse and started monitoring cases. Activists and survivor networks across Kenya are advocating for an end to impunity for police violence.

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