NEWS FLASH – Kenya: Prominent human rights defenders threatened with death as “traitors” to their ethnicity

Amnesty International today issued an urgent action calling for the protection of several Kenyan human rights defenders and activists who have received serious death threats.

The group, which includes six men and three women — some of whom are prominent members of human rights organizations — have received a number of anonymous threats in the form of SMS messages, phone calls and emails. They are now taking precautions for their safety, such as moving house and not making any public statements.

The threats include accusations that they are ”traitors” to their ethnicity.

All but one of the activists are of Kikuyu ethnicity.

They have all spoken out about what they believe to have been irregularities in Kenya’s recent elections or about human rights abuses being committed by police and armed gangs – including Kikuyu gangs – throughout the country.

Four of the human rights defenders are also named in an anonymously authored leaflet that has been circulated within the Kikuyu community. The leaflet lists more than 25 people by name, calling them “traitors [who] live among us in peace”, and issues a veiled threat that they should be killed.

Amnesty International called on the Kenyan government to ensure the safety and protection of all human rights defenders in Kenya, investigate the threats being made against them and bring those found responsible to justice.