Al Jazeera: No apology over Kenya ‘death squads’ story


Al Jazeera Media Network is deeply concerned by the Government of Kenya’s threat to bring charges against those involved in the making of “Inside Kenya’s Death Squads”, broadcast on December 8.

Al Jazeera urges the Government of Kenya (GoK) not to attack journalists or to curtail freedom of speech, but instead to confront the serious allegations that its agents commit extra-judicial killings.

“Inside Kenya’s Death Squads”, produced by the network’s Investigative Unit, features the testimony of a number of members of Kenya’s counter terrorism units. Each states that the police assassinate suspects on government orders. They claim orders come from the National Security Council, a body chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The documentary was neither “malicious” nor “unethical”. Each point made by the GoK is erroneous and misinformed.

• The promotional material for the documentary never claimed death squads had killed 500 clerics.

• The programme gave the GoK ample opportunity to reply to the accusations and included its denials.

• The identities of all persons interviewed and documents released were checked and verified.

The investigation was the confirmation of an allegation that has been widespread in Kenya for many years:

• The International Criminal Court has spent more than four years examining evidence of extra-judicial killings said to have been committed by the President and his deputy. The case collapsed after the Prosecutor accused the GoK of “an unprecedented effort to intimidate and interfere with witnesses”.

• In 2009, Wikileaks published a document that provided evidence that over 500 young men were killed or made to disappear in a police campaign.

• The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, declared in 2010: “I have received overwhelming testimony that there exists in Kenya a systematic, widespread and well-planned strategy to execute individuals.”

• In August 2014, Human Rights Watch issued a report that concluded: “There is strong evidence that Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) has carried out a series of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.”

• Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on December 9 in response to our investigation: “I have been in the National Security Council and I am aware that the government has a hit squad.”

The GoK accuses those involved in the production of violating “the democratic space which every Kenyan must protect to prevent our democracy from being appropriated by agents and/ or sympathizers of extremists and terrorist agenda.”

Al Jazeera rejects this claim.

While the team that conducted the investigation is based outside Kenya, the statement appears directed at journalists within the country who examine and report on government abuses.

We note that the GoK is proposing new legislation seeking to punish journalists who are found guilty of “undermining security operations”. According to reports, the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014 seeks to jail such persons for up to three years or fine them five million Kenyan Shilling (55,000 USD) or both.

Al Jazeera defends the right of journalists to freedom of expression and condemns attempts to restrict the work of professional journalism. It stands by colleagues in the profession facing acts of aggression and harassment.

7 Replies to “Al Jazeera: No apology over Kenya ‘death squads’ story”

  1. Al Jazeera, undoubtedly you are entitled to your opinion as much as other people are entitled to their.
    We would like you to be balanced in your investigative journalism to expose how African house workers are subjected to slavery in the Arab world. You have heard about the the humiliation, mistreatment and even fatalities that befall our ladies in Arab homes. Expose it to the world.
    Have a balanced day

    1. Mbuthi and Tano, the truth shall set you free. The truth is we are going behind and stabbing our beautiful constitution. I believe it is not to the best of out interest to deny the truth because of politics or ethnicism. We better be patriotic and sort our problems as a nation, instead of denying the truth. We are, as a nation, going into a deep pit. Its now or never!!!

      1. Al Beziro, I hear you loud and clear. However, I do not think that I need a foreign media house to tell me what to do and what not to do. I wonder why the entire world catches a cold when Kenya sneezes. I have seen all manner of comments and suggestions from foreign media houses, international NGOs and CBOs about the proposed amendments. One minute they are accusing us for not doing enough and another minute they are opposing measures suggested to give our government the legal muscle to deal with terrorism. What do they know that we do not know about financing of international terrorism? This is the plain truth my fellow co-patriot.

  2. The arrogance from the mouthpiece of al queda , al shabbab and other extremists is nauseating .
    I have no time for extra judicial killings but i have no time for preaching by sympathizers of terrorism. Damn Al jazeera

  3. Aljazeera is a Muslim/Arab mouthpiece with no interest for truth or balance. Increasingly Aljazeera role seems to be to promote radical/political Islam. Aljazeera have tried to undermine Kenya counter terorrism efforts within kenya and inside Somali, painting Kenya as corrupt, western/Israeli puppet, discriminating and killing Muslims – a good Jihadists propaganda narrative.Aljazeera is completely silent on legitimate terror threats Kenya faces, killing, maiming, destruction of properties carried out by the terorrists on innocent Kenyan.
    It is time to Ban Aljazeera in Kenya

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