NAIROBI, KENYA – Nearly two years ago a man named Samuel* was beaten to death inside a police station by the station commander.
Samuel’s wife stood in a waiting area of the station but says she could hear her husband’s screams. Other men in the jail cell have shared that they could see the senior officer on duty brutally beating Samuel with a metal rod, pounding Samuel with his fists, and even using a large barrel filled with water to simulate drowning.
Samuel was locked away in a jail cell that night, his body bloodied and discarded.
Samuel slipped into a coma and never woke up again.
The next day, the station commander came back to the police station to cover up the heinous murder. He promised the men locked up in that same jail cell their liberty if they accused their fellow prisoner—a man named Stephen.* And so, Stephen was charged with murder.
The station commander went back to work.
Stephen had been inside the jail cell and had heard Samuel being mercilessly beaten. Stephen was innocent. Yet he went to prison on murder charges.
IJM met Stephen inside the prison and started advocating for his innocence. In November 2014, we helped proved that there was no evidence that Stephen had murdered a man that night. His name is cleared of the murder charges.
Meanwhile: IJM started working with Kenya’s Independent Police Oversight Authority to hold the police officer accountable. He was still on active duty during the entire time Stephen was in jail facing bogus charges.
As IJM’s lawyers worked on building a solid case that would expose the police officer’s brutality and deceitful attempts to cover up the murder, we mobilized hundreds of people to pray. (IJM Kenya’s director shared about this case at our annual Global Prayer Gathering this year.) Our social workers have also been supporting Stephen and his family, Samuel’s family, and the other witnesses who may testify in this case.
Last week, the police officer was arrested and charged with murder.
The officer pled not guilty and has been remanded to prison to await the start of the trial. To our knowledge, this is the first time a police officer of this level has been charged with murder.
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