Kenyan police officers sentenced over 2016 murder of lawyer
Nairobi, Feb 3 (EFE).- A Kenyan police officer was on Friday sentenced to death and two others handed lengthy prison terms for the 2016 murders of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and his driver.
Fredrick Ole Leliman was handed the death penalty at the high court in Nairobi, where he was described by the presiding judge Jessie Lessit as the mastermind behind the brutal assassination.
Two other officers, Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiki were given a 30-year and 24-year prison sentence respectively. A third convict, police informant Peter Ngugi, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The sentences can be appealed within 14 days, the judge pointed out.
Kimani was a lawyer for the American NGO International Justice Mission.
Before his murder, he represented Josphat Mwenda, who had denounced the police after he was shot for no reason during a traffic stop in April 2015.
The bodies of Kimani, Mwenda and their driver Joseph Muiruri were found dumped in a river in the eastern town of Machakos on July 1, 2016.
The discovery sparked widespread discontent in Kenya and protests calling for the end of extrajudicial killings carried out by police officers.
The Kenya School of Law accused the three police officers of kidnapping the victims after Mwedna refused to drop charges against the officer who shot him.
Kenya’s police have come under increased scrutiny over extrajudicial killings in the nation.
President William Ruto last year dismantled special forces units accused of carrying out murders and forced disappearances.
Missing Voices, a human rights group in Kenya, recorded at least 219 extrajudicial killings by the police in 2021. EFE