EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 32/16/91
2 May 1991
Further information on UA 79/91 (AFR 32/09/91, 4 March 1991, and follow-ups
AFR 32/11/91 (11 March 1991) and AFR 32/14/91 (23 April 1991) - Fear of
Torture/Legal Concern and Medical Concern:
KENYA: Gitobu Imanyara, journalist, lawyer, human rights activist
Gitobu Imanyara, who collapsed in a cell at the Nairobi Law Courts on Friday
19 April 1991, is currently in custody at the Kenyatta National Hospital in
Nairobi, where he is reportedly denied family visits and contact with his legal
representatives. Following his collapse, caused by a severe migraine headache
leading to loss of consciousness, Gitobu Imanyara was taken back to his cell
at Kamiti prison. On Tuesday 23 April he was admitted to Kenyatta National
Hospital, but was taken back to prison before tests were completed. He was
re-admitted to hospital the next day when his lawyer obtained a court order.
In the past, political prisoners in hospital have been chained to their beds
and returned to prison before making a full recovery. Some have refused
surgery, fearing interference in their treatment.
A doctor who examined Gitobu Imanyara in prison after his collapse has
strongly recommended that tests be undertaken by a neurologist and cardiologist
as soon as possible, including tests for suspected brain damage and epilepsy,
and has further recommended that he be released from solitary confinement.
The court has yet to rule on his application for bail, stating that it
would hear evidence from his doctor.
Gitobu Imanyara was arrested on 1 March 1991 and charged with publishing
a seditious publication, namely The Nairobi Law Monthly. He was also charged
with publishing the magazine without proper government clearance. Amnesty
International has appealed for his immediate and unconditional release as a
prisoner of conscience.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern that, although now in hospital, Gitobu Imanyara is still
being kept prisoner and is still in a serious medical condition following his
collapse in court;
- appealing for him to be allowed daily private visits from his family and
- urging that in view of his serious medical condition he be given the appropriate
medical treatment, as recommended by independent doctors, without restrictions,
and that he not be returned to prison while any risk to his health remains;
- calling for his immediate and unconditional release as a prisoner of conscience
and urging that the sedition charges against him be dropped.
President Daniel arap Moi
President of the Republic of Kenya