EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 32/06/92
15 May 1992
Further information on UA 74/92 (AFR 32/04/92, 5 March 1992) - Ill-
Treatment of Peaceful Demonstrators
KENYA: Wangari Maathai (female), environmental activist,
and several other women hunger-strikers
The Kenyan police have taken no further action against Professor Wangari Maathai
and the three other women hunger-strikers, who were beaten unconscious by riot
police in Nairobi on 3 March 1992. They recovered quickly and left hospital
after a short period. They had been beaten during a peaceful demonstration
for the release of political prisoners.
"The Mothers' Hunger-Strike", as it is known, is continuing indefinitely on
a "human chain" basis in All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, with other women
taking the place of those unable to continue.
Twelve political prisoners also went on hunger-strike for two days in prison
on 2 March 1992, in support of the women hunger-strikers. They included Koigi
wa Wamwere, a former member of parliament and political exile, and Mirugi Kariuki
and Rumba Kinuthia, both lawyers, who were charged with treason in October
1990 and are in solitary confinement in Kamiti Prison near Nairobi.
Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation into the
police brutality but has yet to receive a response from the Kenyan Government.
With regard to the political prisoners, Amnesty International has requested
an independent and impartial judicial review of the cases of all people currently
serving prison terms for political offences and has called for the immediate
release of any people imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their
opinions. It is investigating the cases of those awaiting trial and concerned
at reports that they were tortured to make false confessions. The organisation
also fears that they may not receive a fair trial.
Thank you to all those who sent appeals on behalf of the hunger-strikers. No
further action is requested at this stage.