EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 32/09/93
15 March 1993
Further information on UA 54/93 (AFR 32/06/93, 2 March 1993) -
KENYA:John Makanga, pharmacist
John Makanga, who was arrested at the Nairobi Hilton Hotel on 25 February 1993,
was released on bail on about 10 March. Earlier, a magistrate had ordered that
he should be given medical treatment. He is currently still in hospital under
treatment for injuries caused by beatings when he was arrested by masked police
officers and later ill-treatment in police custody.
He is charged with distributing a seditious document, for which he could be
imprisoned for ten years, with an alternative charge of incitement to violence
in relation to the same document. The Attorney General has not yet given consent
to prosecute and no date has been set for the trial. The allegedly "seditious"
document criticized the government for involvement in new ethnic clashes in
western Kenya. An open letter to President Moi from Professor Wangari Maathai,
an environmental campaigner and activist for women's rights and human rights,
repeated these concerns. She and John Makanga had interviewed victims of the
clashes in the Burnt Forest area and were intending to speak about the issue
at a seminar in Nakuru, which the police then banned.
After John Makanga's violent arrest, Professor Maathai went into hiding,
expressing fears for her safety (see UA 58/93, AFR 32/07/93, 4 March 1993).
She presented herself to a magistrate on 10 March and was granted anticipatory
bail, although no charge had been laid against her. She went back into hiding
as police were reported to be still searching for her.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and
airmail letters in English or your own language:
- noting that John Makanga has been released on bail;
- expressing concern that he could still be tried and imprisoned as a prisoner
of conscience for up to 10 years for distributing a document which does not
- calling for an independent investigation into the assault on John Makanga
by masked police officers arresting him, and further ill-treatment in police
1) His Excellency President Daniel arap Moi