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Kenya ordered to pay Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif's family Sh10m

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Arshad's widow, Javeria Siddique, sued the GSU, the IPOA, the ODPP, and Attorney General Justine Muturi.

The High Court has ordered the Kenyan government to pay the family of the late Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif Sh10 million as compensation for his brutal killing by the Kenyan police in October 2022. 

Arshad was shot dead in an extra-judicial execution by the Kenya Police Service's General Service Unit (GSU) officers in the Tinga area of Kajiado County on October 23, 2022. However, police argued that his shooting was a result of a mistaken identity.

His widow, Javeria Siddique, sued the General Service Unit (GSU), the independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), and Attorney General Justine Muturi after Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome admitted that the journalist was fatally injured by mistake.

The journalist had fled to Kenya in July 2022 and was living in exile out of fear of the Pakistani military, which he had largely criticised. 

The ODPP had said it had been proactive in ensuring effective investigations into the incident to facilitate prosecution, while IPOA said it had forwarded the investigations file to the ODPP after carrying out its investigations and that the ODPP promised to give an update and directions.

The High Court, however, faulted IPOA and the ODPP for failing to conclude investigations into the murder carried out by two police officers, with Justice Mutuku saying the delay was a violation of Sharif's rights.

She declared the killing unconstitutional, amounting to a violation of the fundamental rights to life, freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment as guaranteed by the Constitution. 

"In the shooting of the deceased in the circumstances disclosed in the petition, and which shooting has been admitted save for the allegations that it was a mistaken identity, the respondents (AG, Koome and the National Police Service and National Police Service Commission) violated the rights of the deceased under Articles 26,27 and 29 of the constitution," stated Mutuku.

"The (AG), in my view, cannot escape responsibility by claiming that the functions of that office exempt the office from any responsibility in this matter."

She ordered the IPOA and ODPP to charge the perpetrators immediately. 

The judge further noted that the AG's functions under section 5 (1) include advising government ministries, departments, constitutional commissions, and state corporations on legal matters and all matters related to the constitution, international law, and human rights "and facilitating, promoting and monitoring the rule of law, the protection of human rights and democracy especially in a matter like this one".

The AG had alluded, during the trial, to the lack of powers over the officers of the police service, adding that the IG has the overall and independent command of officers with no control or direction from his office.

Mutuku provided a 30-day window before the payment, allowing the Kenyan government time to appeal the directive.

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