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LSK condemns illegal police arrests, intimidation of protesters

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has denounced and labelled the arrest and intimidation of vocal personalities and social media influencers perceived to be mobilisers and facilitators of the contentious Finance Bill 2024 protests as unlawful.

In an official statement by LSK President Faith Odhiambo on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the statutory body has strongly condemned the government for what it terms as the deployment of brutal and disproportionate retaliatory force by the police that has culminated in abductions.

The statement further slams the government for its failure to handle a unified front made up of professionals, students, digital content creators, and youth from all walks of life and instead turning to illegal, retrogressive, and extra-judicial tactics in trying to squash the dissent.

“Over the last 72 hours, Kenya has been drawn back to the dark era of a rogue, irrational police force operating through repressive, retrogressive, clandestine, illegal, extra-judicial tactics to forcefully quell public dissent against misgivings of government, lapses in governance and more specifically, the contentious Finance Bill 2024.

“The unprecedented unity and ingenuity that has become characteristic of the current wave of protests has caused disquiet within government and the regrettable reaction has been the deployment of the brutal, disproportionately retaliatory police force,” part of the statement read.

Unlawful arrest of protesters

LSK has also pointed out cases of vocal personalities and influencers who have been threatened, physically trailed, and had their communications monitored and privacy unlawfully infringed.

The Law Society was able to secure the release of Billy Simani, alias Crazy Nairobian, who according to the statement was abducted in Nakuru on Saturday, June 22, 2024, and released in Eldoret late in the night of the same day.

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“After failing to impose criminal charges against innocent protestors who were subjected to arbitrary arrests and despite lacking justification to qualify any degree of force against the largely peaceful protestors, the police have turned to intimidation of perceived leaders, mobilizers, and facilitators of the protests.

“Several vocal personalities and social influencers have reported that they have been threatened, physically trailed, had their communications arbitrarily monitored and privacy unlawfully infringed.”

LSK has shed light on the abduction of Dr. Salim Ishmael and that of Mr. Shadrack Kiprono alias Shad Khalif whose whereabouts remain unknown as of now despite pressure on policing agencies to disclose information regarding the two.

In their statement, LSK has urged the public to share details on the possible whereabouts of the missing protesters while demanding police and investigative agencies to reveal where the missing persons are being held and the identity of those holding them.

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