• Campagnes

UA 54/93 - Malawi: ill-treatment / legal concern: John Makanga

, N° d'index: AFR 32/006/1993

John Makanga, a pharmacist, was arrested without warrant on 25 February 1993 at his pharmacy by plainclothes police who refused to identify themselves or say why they were arresting him. They reportedly beat him severely and took him to an undisclosed location. He appeared in a magistrate's court in Nairobi on 1 March with new injuries, apparently the result of further beatings, and was charged with distributing seditious publications which accused the government of responsibility for ethnic clashes in western Kenya. His application for bail was refused and he was remanded in custody. AI is appealing for his immediate and unconditional release as he appears to be a prisoner of conscience.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 32/06/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 54/93 Ill-treatment/Legal concern 2 March 1993
KENYA: John Makanga, pharmacist
Amnesty International is concerned at the ill-treatment, both on arrest and
in custody, of John Makanga who appears to be a prisoner of conscience. He
was arrested by plainclothes police officers without a warrant on 25 February
1993 at the Kilimanjaro Pharmacy, which he owns and which is located in the
Hilton Hotel in Nairobi. The police officers refused to identify themselves
or say why they were arresting him. They beat him severely - even though his
lawyer and friends were present - and drove him off to an undisclosed
destination. His lawyer protested but was unable to prevent this.
John Makanga appeared in a magistrate's court in Nairobi on 1 March 1993 with
new injuries to his hands, legs and back, apparently the result of further
beatings in police custody. He said he had been denied food for the three days
following his arrest. He was charged with distributing seditious publications
accusing the government of responsibility for new ethnic clashes in western
Kenya. The magistrate made no inquiry into his injuries or treatment in custody,
refused his lawyer's application for bail and remanded him in custody.
In early February 1993 several people were killed and thousands driven from
their homes in Burnt Forest, a town in Uasin Gishu district, Rift Valley
Province, in clashes between members of the locally dominant Kalenjin ethnic
group and members of the Kikuyu ethnic group, who might have been regarded
as opposition supporters in the recent elections. John Makanga had apparently
visited the scene of the clashes with Professor Wangari Maathai, chairperson
of the environmentalist Greenbelt Movement and a prominent government opponent.
President Moi (who is a member of the Kalenjin ethnic group) publicly accused
Professor Maathai on 20 September 1992 of "distributing inflammatory leaflets"
in Uasin Gishu and "fanning the clashes". She is reported to be in hiding and
there is concern for her safety.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Similar "ethnic clashes" in 1992 left tens of thousands of people displaced
and over 700 people dead, many of them allegedly killed by a secret force of
"Kalenjin warriors" supported, armed and funded by senior government and ruling
party figures. However, the authorities have taken no action against any of
those named in 1992 in investigations by a church-sponsored inquiry and a
parliamentary committee.
The authorities in Kenya often use charges of sedition against non-violent
critics of the government, and several have been imprisoned in the past after
unfair trials.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the arrest and beating by police of John Makanga on
25 February 1993 at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi;
- requesting an urgent impartial investigation into reports that he was again
beaten in police custody and denied food;
Page 2 of UA 54/93
- appealing for his immediate and unconditional release as it seems that he
has been arrested for investigating reports of human rights abuses and for
his non-violent criticism of the government;
- requesting that in the meantime he be allowed to receive medical treatment
from his own doctor and regular access to his family and lawyer.
APPEALS TO
1) His Excellency President Daniel arap Moi
President of the Republic of Kenya
Office of the President
P O Box 30510
Nairobi, Kenya
Telegrams: President Moi, Nairobi, Kenya
Telexes: 22003 FOREIGNRB or 22696 FOREIGNRB
(via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Faxes: + 254 2 33 7340 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) Mr Amos Wako
Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
P O Box 40112
Nairobi
Kenya
Telegrams: Attorney General Wako, Sheria, Nairobi, Kenya
Faxes: + 245 2 211082
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
1) Mr James Mareka
Commissioner of Prisons
Kenya Prisons Service Headquarters
P O Box 30175
Nairobi, Kenya
2) Mr Philip Kilonzo
Commissioner of Police
Kenya Police Headquarters
P O Box 30083
Nairobi, Kenya
3) Mr Justice Alan Hancox
Chief Justice
Law Courts
P O Box 30041
Nairobi, Kenya
4) Mr F Kagwa
Acting Chairman
Law Society of Kenya
P O Box 72219
Nairobi, Kenya
and to diplomatic representatives of Kenya accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 13 April 1993.

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