Police arrest torture victims pathologist

August 17, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 17 – Police have arrested a pathologist hired by Kenya National Human Rights Commission to probe claims that security forces tortured people during the Mt Elgon security operation.

Dr Walter Nalianya was arrested for a second time Saturday following his contribution to the a report by the government’s rights watchdog in May which implicated Defence Minister Yusuf Hajji and eight top security officials over alleged torture.

Nalianya, who is being held in Eldoret, conducted pathology tests on 26 victims of the security operation launched in March against Sabaot Land Defence Forces who had taken up arms to oppose a government resettlement scheme.

"They (police) are claiming that by examining the victims he acted as a private doctor," said Hassan Omar Hassan, the rights group’s vice chairman.

"We are a public body," he said. "The report that we released was a report by the government of Kenya and is protected by law."

Hassan explained that the pathology results were "consistent with claims of torture reported by victims."

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said investigations showed that Nalianya was not a licensed pathologist.

"Those are the charges he will be facing in court," he said.

The security forces and the rebel group have been accused of abuses by several local and international rights groups — charges the police have denied.

Last month, New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the Kenyan government to account for dozens of people missing after the operation.

The government says the crackdown has crippled the rebel group that operated in the Mount Elgon region and which was accused by rights groups of killing more than 600 people since 2006.


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