[QODLink]
Africa

Kenya anti-terrorism police accused of abuses

Rights group says strong evidence shows police carried out series of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

Last updated: 18 Aug 2014 17:08
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Al-Shabab fighters have been blamed for a series of attacks in Kenya since Nairobi backed AU forces in Somalia [File]

An international human rights group says there is strong evidence that Kenya's anti-terrorism police unit has carried out a series of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

A Human Rights Watch report said on Monday that research conducted between November and June documented at least 10 cases of unlawful killings and 10 cases of enforced disappearances carried out by the unit.

At least 11 cases of mistreatment and harassment of suspects were also documented.

The police abuse reportedly rose sharply after Kenya was hit by a series of attacks by al-Shabab, an armed group based in neighbouring Somalia. Shabab apparently started launching attacks in the country after Nairobi backed AU security forces fighting the group in Somalia.

The HRW report said suspects were shot dead in public places, abducted from vehicles and courtrooms, beaten badly during arrest, detained in isolated blocks and denied contact with their families and access to lawyers, the group says.

Several Muslim clerics have been shot dead on the coast, including leaders accused of backing al-Shabab fighters.

'Under government's nose'

“Kenyan counter-terrorism forces appear to be killing and disappearing people right under the noses of top government officials, major embassies, and the United Nations,” said Leslie Lefkow, the deputy Africa director.

The HRW report also said that the unit "has been conducting abusive operations for years, sometimes very openly, yet the Kenyan authorities have done nothing to investigate, much less stop these crimes".

"In some cases, members of the anti-riot forces known as the General Service Unit , military intelligence, and National Intelligence Service were implicated in abuses by the counterterrorism unit," the rights group added.

The counterterrorism police unit receives significant support and training from the United States and the United Kingdom, HRW added.

"Donors need to carry out their own investigations of these abuses and suspend their assistance to abusive forces, or risk being complicit in Kenya's culture of impunity," the rights group said.

311

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.