Strangulation, beatings among forms of torture in Kenya – survey

October 24, 2016 6:11 pm
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IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama says the cases are on the rise while pointing out that “sadly, most of the incidents of torture and ill treatment happen within the context of law enforcement, with 39.4 percent/KEVIN GITAU
IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama says the cases are on the rise while pointing out that “sadly, most of the incidents of torture and ill treatment happen within the context of law enforcement, with 39.4 percent/KEVIN GITAU

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – A new survey by the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) covering the last 5 years indicate that 30.3 pc of Kenyans are victims of torture or ill treatment.

Some of the methods used to inflict torture and ill treatment remains strangulation, beatings and shootings.

According to the survey, 63.9 pc of the victims reside in urban and peri-urban poor areas of the country with the main perpetrators being the regular police at 59.3 pc and the Administration Police at 18.5 pc.

Other perpetrators include local chiefs at 13.5 percent and County Government officers at 8.1 pc.

Areas within Nairobi and Mombasa recorded highest cases as indicated by the survey.

IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama says the cases are on the rise while pointing out that “sadly, most of the incidents of torture and ill treatment happen within the context of law enforcement, with 39.4 percent,” he said.

According to the survey, most of the cases took place in police cells (39.4pc), at home (31.5pc), on the way to police station (21.6pc) and the time of arrest (19.6pc).

“Despite the fact that Kenya has been undergoing comprehensive reforms in the security services sector, with the aim to transform from a force into a service, this is not quite reflected on the ground. This is further corroborated by the increase in those who were primary victims of torture (30.3pc) as compared at those of the last survey conducted in 2011 (23pc)” he pointed out.

Besides police, other state agencies identified as perpetrators of torture include prison warders, special police squads, private militia allegedly funded by the state and national intelligence officers.

The survey indicates that there is very low reporting on torture and ill treatment since majority say there was no action taken against the perpetrators.

Police spokesman Charles Owino in the meantime says the police is at the forefront in ensuring perpetrators of torture are dealt with decisively.

While admitting that some incidences are perpetrated by officers, Owino stated that modalities have been put in place to ensure that they are dealt with.

He further pointed out that the Independent Policing Oversight Authority is tasked with investigating rogue officers so as to weed them out of the system.

Speaking during the launch of the report on Monday, Amnesty Kenya Director Justus Nyang’aya urged Parliament to enact the Prevention of Torture Bill 2016 and the National Coroners Service Bill 2016, which will enable credible and independent investigations of all unnatural deaths.

If enacted to law, the Prevention of Torture Bill 2016 will ensure “torture” definition conforms to Article 1 of the Convention against Torture and covers all perpetrators.

Enactment of the National Coroners Service Bill 2016 will enable credible and independent medical investigations for all unnatural deaths in Kenya, including deaths from torture and ill treatment.

About 2,400 people were interviewed during the survey, in all the 47 Counties.

IMLU has further called for prompt, effective and impartial investigation of all allegations of excessive use of force and torture by the police, military, Kenya Wildlife Service Officers and the inspectorate department at county government level.

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