Kenyans burned a police camp Wednesday as thousands across the country protested against extra-judicial killings linked to police, days after the bodies of a human rights lawyer, his client and another man were pulled from a river and several officers were detained.
Anger over the killings has simmered in this East African country where human rights groups say police-linked killings are pervasive.
As details of the torture of the three men emerged, hundreds of lawyers from the Law Society of Kenya marched to police headquarters in the capital, Nairobi, to demand action. Lawyers across Kenya are on a week-long work slowdown in protest.
Human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and motorcycle taxi driver Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri went missing on June 23. Their bodies were pulled from a river on Friday.
Mwenda’s testicles had been crushed, pathologist Dr. Andrew Gachii said in a post-mortem report presented to the court, and his skull was fractured. The bodies of the others also bore wounds from a blunt object.
“My Lordship, having worked in the area of torture, sometimes we do say that some deaths can be extremely painful. Whoever was inflicting these injuries seemed to have had an affinity on the testicles and they crushed them,” Gachii said.
Despite threats, Mwenda had been pursuing charges against an officer at the Syokimau police station who shot him in an unprovoked incident in 2015.
Four officers from the station are being held for the murders. Rights groups say witnesses claim the three men were held there after being abducted.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet condemned the station’s burning. He also pledged that those responsible for the murders will be held accountable.
Kenya has been vetting hundreds of thousands of police officers, trying to restore the force’s image.
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