NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – A report released by Amnesty International shows that police in Kenya are still committing torture, despite laws available to curb the vice.
In the report released on Tuesday, Amnesty International Kenyan country director Justus Nyagaya revealed that there were 103 torture cases blamed on the police last year, and 41 since January this year.
He pointed out that of the cases reported last year, 70 arose from police beating suspects while the remaining were arbitrary shootings.
“At least half of the respondents in Kenya feared that they would be at a risk of torture if taken into custody. Majority of Kenyans agree that clear rules are needed to fight against torture,” he said.
Speaking during the event, Kenya Human Rights Commission Executive Director Muthoni Wanyeki stated that the report showed a sharp rise of torture cases, having recorded 91 extra-judicial killings in 2012.
“Amnesty International has documented various forms of torture used. It is mainly used as a means of extracting confessions. Detainees are beaten tied up in painful positions, held in extreme weather conditions suspended from the ceilings and sometimes sexually abused,” she stated.
She reiterated the need for the government to pass stringent anti-torture laws to curb the vice.
“Clear rules against torture are crucial because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights,” she said.
“African governments have yet to acknowledge the problem, let alone begin to rectify it. The lack of strong national laws prohibiting torture in the majority of African countries allows torture not just to survive, but to thrive.”
She explained that given the secretive nature of the abuse, the true number is likely to be far higher.
“In a number of African countries the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is routine and accepted by many as a legitimate response to high levels of violent crime,” she stated.
She further indicated that Amnesty International has reported on torture or other ill-treatment in 141 countries over the past five years.
“Governments across Africa are betraying their commitments to stamp out torture, Amnesty International said today as it launched its latest global campaign, Stop Torture. The practice is rampant across the continent, which lags behind the rest of the world in criminalizing it,” she said.
She revealed that only 10 African nations have adopted domestic legislation outlawing torture, despite the fact that the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights expressly prohibits the practice.