LSK Condemns UoN Police Brutality

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Mr. Isaac Okero.

By Harold Ayodo

Nairobi, Kenya: The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has called for legal action against police officers who violated fundamental rights of University of Nairobi students.

LSK President Mr. Isaac Okero said that the police officers committed both criminal and disciplinary offences and must be subjected to due process.

The University of Nairobi has since been closed indefinitely following three days of running battles between demonstrating students and police officers.

He said that disturbing reports have emerged of forceful entry into the campus and halls of residence by police officers – specifically the General Service Unit.

“A video clip said to have been taken at the time depicts the police officers brutalizing students who appear subdued and forced to lie on the ground,” Mr. Okero said in a statement to newsrooms.

The LSK President said that there is no justification for the unlawful use of force upon subdued students as depicted in the video clips.

He said that further reports indicate that some female students were subjected to sexual violence.

“The criminal actions by the police must be condemned at a time when the country is commemorating the first anniversary of the tragic terror attack at Garissa University.

“The Inspector General of the National Police Force owes an explanation and an apology to the students, their families and members of the public,” Mr. Okero said.

He said that the university authorities must also disclose to the students, their families and the public who was responsible for taking into the university precincts police officers reported to have violated students’ rights to dignity, freedom, security, privacy and property.

The LSK President said that the constitutional right to assemble, demonstrate and picket are enshrined in Article 37 of the Constitution must be exercised by persons who are ‘peaceable and unarmed’.

He said that it is as much as the duty of all students exercising the rights to ensure they do so unarmed and peaceably as it is the obligation of the university authorities to create an environment for the same.

“There has been a failure on the part of some students and university authorities and members of the public suffering the consequent inconvenience and damage to property,” Mr. Okero said.

The LSK President said that the student leadership and university authorities must find a solution that will enable students exercise their constitutional rights.

“The students must exercise their fundamental rights as envisaged in Article 37 of the Constitution when necessary and without undue inconvenience to the public,” Mr. Okero said.

-Harold Ayodo, LSK Programme Officer (Communication)