, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – The Belgian Embassy in Nairobi has sent a protest letter to the Kenyan government, demanding an investigation into circumstances that led to the arrest of one of its nationals Fabian Thierry Ghislain Philippart who works in Nairobi.
Philippart who is the General Manager of Kofinaf Company Limited was arrested on Saturday and arraigned in a Thika court on Monday where he was charged with wrongfully confining a director of the firm, Stephen Mbugua Mwagiru.
“Ordinarily, the embassy will not interfere with the country’s judicial processes but we strongly feel that this particular incident raises serious concerns on the fair administration of justice and the blatant violation of Mr Philippart’s rights,” a letter sent by the embassy to Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said.
The letter dated March 12, 2012 signed by the embassy’s head of consular section Jan Desmadril was also copied to Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo, Attorney General Githu Muigai and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko.
“We therefore, write to request your urgent intervention in this matter and in particular an inquiry as to the circumstances that led to Mr Philippart’s tragic arrest and arraignment in court,” the letter states in part.
The embassy said it was surprised to learn that Philippart had been arrested and prosecuted yet he was the one who had initially lodged a complaint at the Ruiru police station against Mwagiru.
In his statement at the police station, Philippart had complained that Mwagiru had stormed his residence within the company premises on February 12 and banged the door several times while hurling insults at him.
“Mr Philippart refused to open for him and he left after 30 minutes having broken a window pane in the kitchen. The police were alerted immediately and they carried investigations,” the letter from the embassy said.
Philippart’s complaint was filed at the Ruiru police station under OB21/18/02/2012.
A week later on February 18, Mwagiru was arrested and released on bail and was scheduled to appear in court on February 23 to face charges of malicious damage to property and creating disturbance, according to the Embassy’s protest letter.
When police failed to arraign him in court, Philippart took it upon himself and wrote to Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere, complaining of the apparent failure to bring Mwagiru to justice.
As he waited for a reply from the police boss, Philippart was arrested by a contingent of police officers who picked him up from his residence within Kofinaf premises.
He was taken to the Ruiru police station where he was held before paying a bond of Sh10,000 pending appearance in court on Monday.
The embassy said it does not understand why the Provincial State Counsel at Nyeri decided to exonerate Mwagiru of the unlawful offences and instead recommended the prosecution of Philippart who has since faced charges of wrongful confinement of the Kofinaf director.
“This strange turn of events has traumatised Philippart and his family as well as the entire employees of Kofinaf Company Ltd who are privy to the facts as stated above,” the protest letter from the embassy said.
It went on to say “not only is it absurd that a complainant who is a victim of the criminal activities committed against him has now been made a victim, but it is also of grave concern that disproportionate force was used to apprehend him.”