Police tear gas protestors, Mati freed

December 14, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 14 – Human rights activist Mwalimu Mati and his wife Jane were on Sunday released from custody after spending two nights behind bars at the Langata Police Station following their arrest on Jamhuri Day.

Mr Mati was released shortly after other human rights activists demanding for his release were tear gassed at Langata Police Station. Having been thrown out of the police station, the group moved and blocked all lanes of Lang’ata road, next to the Army barracks and disrupted traffic flow.

“That ordeal is over and now the hard work begins. We feel that our rights have been violated since we were arrested at 10am on Friday and even today we still have three people in Garissa in custody simply because of wearing a black shirt in protest,” Mr Mati said upon his release.

According to Mr Mati police freed him saying they will continue with their investigations.

“They just said you are released but they have not told us whether they will charge us with anything,” Mr Mati told Capital News in an interview.

The human rights activist now says he will be suing the Police Commissioner Major General Hussein Ali for what he called ‘gross violations of human rights.’

“If the government is serious about implementing the National Accord and in particular the Report on the Waki Commission, it is time to advocate for the removal of Commissioner of Police Maj. Gen Ali after what we have gone through; we don’t feel he is in position to impartially implement the duty of a commissioner.”

Mr Mati told Capital News that he will be joining his colleagues in the ‘Partnerships for Change’ to call for the release of the three other activists who were arrested in Garissa. He said he will also push for the release of Fredrick Odhiambo who was brutally roughed up by the presidential guards during the Jamhuri Day Celebrations. 

 “What’s next is to evaluate our legal options we still have Fred Odhiambo who was brutally assaulted on December 12 we have our interest in his welfare and we’ll be showing solidarity in that regard,” he said.

He accused the police of engaging in smear campaign by portraying the group as being behind a spate of protests against government leaders.

Mr Mati stated: “The partnership for change is an initiative that is dedicated to non-violent action and to reduce the use of violence in policy and political debate and so the very suggestion that we could have been involved in any incitement to violence is farcical.” 

Earlier, protesting members of the civil society formed a human chain across Langata Road after police teargased them at the Langata Police station where they had gathered demanding the release of Mati and his wife Jane.

The over  40 protestors gathered in front of the Langata police station, where they were dispersed but regrouped to block the road further away.

“We have understood the government’s statement in arresting and detaining innocent Kenyans on Jamhuri Day. The message is be silent and our response to that is not now, not ever we will not allow temporary setbacks to intimidate us Kenyans will be free the media will be free,” said one of the civil society leaders before they were dispersed.


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