The international free speech organization Article 19 has today published a report saying that the the murder of journalist John Kituyi in Eldoret in April 2015 remained unpunished. A suspect, a soldier, was acquitted by the court earlier in 2018, whereof the family of Kituyi was not notified, Article 19 reported. The case file is “missing”, a court clerk has stated.
In detail, Article 19 wrote on their website:
“John Kituyi was the editor and publisher the of The Mirror Weekly, a regional newspaper in Kenya, who had been reporting before his death on witness interference in the ICC investigation against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. Kituyi was bludgeoned to death near his home on 30 April 2015, with only his phone and office keys stolen, a week after publishing a story containing references to the allegations of witness interference. The ICC case he was investigating was later dropped with judges noting interference and political intimidation of witnesses. Despite the arrest and charge of a soldier, Nicholas Kathukya Kavili, for Kituyi’s death, impunity remains for the crime – Kavili was acquitted due to lack of evidence in 2018, and had been charged only with violent robbery under Article 295 of the Penal Code, which ignores the few items stolen and potential motives related to his (Kituyi’s) reporting. Kituyi’s family had not been informed of the collapse of the case and investigation,” and a court clerk said now that the case file is missing.
The case was put into larger context on the occasion of the “International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists” on November 2:
“In Kenya, at least 94 violations against journalists and media workers took place from May 2017 to April 2018. Political instability related to Kenya’s disputed elections in August 2017 saw mass protests met by excessive use of police force. This was accompanied by scores of violations against journalists and media workers trying to report on political issues and the protests. Violations towards journalists in Kenya showed a marked rise in severity and numbers during the prolonged election period where journalists were arbitrarily detained, physically attacked by police, and received various threats aimed to hamper their work. Police officers involved in many of these abuses have not been held to account.”
Abuses to silence journalism exposing state corruption, human rights abuses and organised crime
Investigative journalists’ work to expose corrupt politicians, shady business deals, organised crime, or serious human rights violations, plays an essential role in human rights protection and ensuring accountability. However, this work carries huge risks as challenging powerful interests can lead to reprisals including arbitrary detention, legal harassment, threats and attacks. In too many cases, the punishment for exposing abuses is death.
Impunity in these cases is a chronic problem, as often it isn’t in states interests to bring those responsible to justice, because abuses are linked to state officials or tacit state acceptance of criminal activity and other abuses. Journalists who report on some of the most serious abuses of governments, and deeply entrenched corruption, have paid a high price, and so far seen no redress or justice.”
Article 19 is one of the organizations behind RoGGKenya.
Other Articles about the John Kituyi Case: