July 12, 2016
As the New York Times reported on June 30, three Kenyan men — Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda, and Joseph Muiruri — walked out of a Kenyan courthouse on June 23rd and were abducted. A week later they were found dead in a river.
They had gone to court that morning to pursue Mwenda’s case against local police, who had been harassing him. Police abuse, harassment, and impunity are facts of life in Kenya, and yet, Mwenda chose to take on a system that does not function for the people, but rather for its own self-preservation. He was accompanied by Kimani, an investigator for International Justice Mission, a global organization that works to protect the poor from violence around the world by bringing rescue, restoring survivors, ensuring convictions, and building capacity in broken public justice systems. Muiruri was their driver.
Their abduction immediately sounded alarms throughout Nairobi and Washington, where active human rights communities knew all too well how this story would unfold. Those who dare to challenge police abuse face an unrelenting, self-protecting system of impunity.