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Kenya: Further information on torture concern / legal concern / fear of ill-treatment/ death penalty and health concern: Koigi wa Wamwere, Charles Kuria Wamwere, James Maigwa, G G Ngengi Njuguna

, Index number: AFR 32/016/1995

The judgement in the trial of Koigi wa Wamwere and his three co-defendants is due on 25 September 1995. All four face mandatory death sentences if convicted. AI believes that the charges against them have been fabricated and that the real reason for their arrest is their criticism of the government. AI considers all four to be prisoners of conscience.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 32/16/95
11 September 1995
Further information on UA 333/93 (AFR 32/12/93, 21 September 1993) and
follow-ups (AFR 32/13/93, 29 September; AFR 32/14/93, 11 October; AFR 32/15/93,
25 October; AFR 32/16/93, 19 November; AFR 32/18/93, 26 November; AFR 32/20/93,
10 December; AFR 32/21/93, 15 December; AFR 32/22/93, 30 December; AFR 32/03/94,
1 February 1994; AFR 32/07/94, 14 April; AFR 32/11/95, 14 July 1995;) - Torture
concern / Legal concern / Fear of ill-treatment / Death penalty / Health concern
KENYAKoigi wa Wamwere - human rights activist, former political prisoner, former
member of parliament
Charles Kuria Wamwere - former political prisoner
James Maigwa - brother-in-law of Koigi wa Wamwere and farmer
G.G
. Njuguna
Ngengi -
councillo
r for Molo
and
farmer
The judgement in the trial of Koigi wa Wamwere and his three co-defendants
is due on 25 September 1995. All four face mandatory death sentences if
convicted. Amnesty International believes that the charges against them have
been fabricated and that the real reason for their arrest is their criticism
of the government. Amnesty International considers all four to be prisoners
of conscience.
The trial, which began in April 1994, ended abruptly in mid-July 1995 when
both the defence counsel and the defendants themselves were denied the right
to present their final submissions orally. The Magistrate ruled in July that
he would base his deliberations on the final submissions from the prosecution,
who were allowed to present their case over 17 days, and his own notes of the
proceedings.
Following this ruling Koigi wa Wamwere proclaimed: "We know we were convicted
long before we were arrested and charged because of our political beliefs.
We are prepared to hang. These people can never give us justice"
Due to an outstanding allegation of contempt of court none of the four defendants
will be allowed to be present in court for the judgement.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Koigi wa Wamwere, his brother, Charles Kuria Wamwere, his cousin James Maigwa
and G.G. Njuguna Ngengi, a local councillor, were charged with attempted robbery
with violence following an alleged raid on Bahati police station near Nakuru
in November 1993. Shortly before his arrest, Koigi wa Wamwere had formed a
human rights organization, the National Democratic Human Rights Organization
(NDEHURIO), which had been attempting to investigate and report on incidents
of political violence in the Rift Valley and other parts of Kenya. Government
involvement has been alleged in the ethnic-based violence which has killed
over 1,500 people and displaced more than 300,000 since it began in December
1991.
2
Amnesty International believes that the police are increasingly abusing the
law by using non-bailable criminal charges to detain non-violent critics of
the government and their relatives. The organisation believes that their
arrest is part of an increasingly violent pattern of harassment and intimidation
of human rights activists, opposition figures and journalists. The tactics
employed by the Kenyan authorities are seriously undermining the right to
freedom of expression in Kenya.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in English or your own language:
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Koigi wa Wamwere,
Charles Kuria Wamwere, James Maigwa and G.G. Njuguna Ngengi as prisoners of
conscience;
- stating that Amnesty International and other national and international human
rights and legal organizations who have observed the trial have concluded that
the defendants have not received a fair trial;
- expressing concern that they face the death sentence if convicted, stating
Amnesty International's opposition to the death penalty in all cases and
reminding them of the South African Constitutional Court's decision on 6 June
1995 determining that the death penalty violated the rights to life and human
dignity.
APPEALS TO:
1) President Daniel arap Moi
Office of the President
PO Box 30510
Nairobi
Kenya
Telegrams: President Moi, Nairobi, Kenya
Telexes: 22003 FOREIGN ROB or 22796 FOREIGN RB
Faxes: + 254 2 37340 (if dead tone, please try later)
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) Mr Amos Wako
Attorney General
P O Box 40112
Nairobi, Kenya
Telegrams: Attorney General Wako, Sheria, Kenya
Faxes: +254 2 211082
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
COPIES TO:
1) Paul Wamae
Chairman
Law Society of Kenya
PO Box 72219
Nairobi, Kenya
2) Your local and national press
and to the diplomatic representative of Kenya accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 25 September 1995

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