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HomeNews25 Human Rights Groups Demand DCI To Reveal Crazy Nairobian's Location

25 Human Rights Groups Demand DCI To Reveal Crazy Nairobian’s Location

The influential social media figure disappeared on Friday, sparking widespread concern as well as uproar, with netizens demanding his release.

25 human rights associations of content creators, lawyers, medical officers and human rights defenders across the country have called on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to clarify the whereabouts of content creator Billy Simani, also known as “Crazy Nairobian”.

This call to action followed reports that surfaced on Friday, June 21 regarding his alleged abduction by five police officers following a wave of anti-Finance bill protests sweeping across Kenya.

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The Finance Bill, which proposes increased taxes to support the 2023/2024 budget, has ignited widespread public outcry, culminating in numerous demonstrations nationwide.

The influential social media figure disappeared on Friday, sparking widespread concern and uproar, with netizens demanding his release.

Officers stand guard outside the DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road. /NATIONAL POLICE SERVICE

Dennis Itumbi, a prominent digital strategist and former State House operative, confirmed the arrest and opened up on the circumstances that led to Billy’s disappearance.

“I have checked with the Police why Crazy Nairobian, Billy, is under arrest. I understand he sent threatening message/s. I get hundreds of those myself, & they do not bother me. 

“But well, it is a crime. I am unable to intervene, though I strongly disagree. I will reach out to the complainant to see if he/she can withdraw,” Itumbi stated on X.

He however noted that he made use of the courts to tell the truth and argue with facts, opining that insults were part of free speech.

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“Insulting and criticising public servants should not be treated as a crime. I will leave the jury to decide if sending threatening messages should be treated as a crime. I would personally not bother to report to the police, but that I leave to the courts to determine,” he added, calling on public servants to withstand criticism.

Meanwhile, the agencies which include the Bloggers Association of Kenya, The Law Society, Kenya Medical Association, Defenders Coalition, the Independent Medical Legal Union and Amnesty International Kenya rallied behind Simani, also confirming that he was arrested and is currently detained by the National Police Service in an undisclosed location.

“We also call for the immediate release of any other content creators currently under arrest.

“The Government of Kenya to issue a public undertaking that no content creators or any Kenyan for that matter will be arrested for expressing their opinion online or for supporting the current protests,” the coalition stated in a press release on Saturday, June 22.

The groups also called for the government to guarantee the right to freedom of expression for all Kenyans in line with Kenya’s Constitution.

“Lastly, we call on the independent state agencies to independently investigate these arrests with a view to holding those responsible accountable,” added the coalition.

Simani’s disappearance came as reports surfaced regarding a series of arrests targeting influential people amidst the anti-Finance Bill 2024 protests.

Human rights activist, Boniface Mwangi, announced on Friday, June 21 that he had to go offline for an undisclosed period of time after surviving a possible abduction by officers alleged to be of the DCI.

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In Nairobi, over 200 demonstrators were arrested during protests against the planned hikes, with civil society groups vowing to continue their demonstrations despite the crackdown.

Rights groups reported that at least 200 people were injured and more than 100 were arrested in the protests.

Protestors react after police use teargas to disperse them during a demonstration against the proposed finance bill 2024/2025 in Nairobi. /REUTERS

Five organisations, including Amnesty International, highlighted the violent nature of the police response, which involved tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets.

“Soft tissue injuries and inhalation of tear gas” were common among the injured, with six individuals reportedly struck by cars while fleeing from police and five others injured by rubber bullets.

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