The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi has condemned what he terms as arrest of Kenyans to settle political scores or suppress free speech.
Havi was reacting to the arrest of Charles Gichuki, creator of the government corruption tracker website.
Gichuki was arrested on Thursday and Detained at Capitol Hill Police Station.
According to Havi, Gichuki was later released without being charged.
Earlier, the LSK boss had written to the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji expressing interest to represent Gichuki who he said was detained”incommunicado”.
“The above-named individual was seized yesterday by persons claiming to be police officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and has been held incommunicado since then. His wife who the writer spoke to indicates that she cannot trace him in any police station in Nairobi. We are reliably informed that he is being held at either Muthaiga or Capitol Hill police stations and that he is likely to be arraigned in Court this morning on charges that are yet to be disclosed, ” wrote Havi.
“The police have violated Gichuki’s right to communicate with an Advocate and other persons whose assistance is necessary to him as an arrested person as guaranteed by Article 49 (1) (c) of The Constitution of Kenya. There is genuine fear that he may be denied the right to be represented by an Advocate, and to be informed of this right promptly, as required by Article 50 (2) (g) of The Constitution.”
Gichuki is said to have been freed after Havi’s letter.
“I am delighted Charles Gichuki has been released without charge. I am however, disappointed with the continued habit of police competing with criminals in abduction of Kenyans to settle political scores or suppress free speech in the guise of arrests,” Havi said on Twitter.
I am delighted Charles Gichuki has been released without charge. I am however, disappointed with the continued habit of police competing with criminals in abduction of Kenyans to settle political scores or suppress free speech in the guise of arrests. #ReleaseChaosKibe. ^POLSK
— Nelson Havi (@NelsonHavi) August 21, 2020
Human rights organizations such as Amnesty Kenya termed the arrest as ‘abuse power’. Kenyans on Twitter had also joined the campaign using the hashtag #ReleaseChaosKibe to call for the release of Gichuki.
Although reasons for Gichuki’s arrest remain unclear, word has it that he was arrested over information he shared on his website linking top government officials to graft scandals in the country.
Earlier, a fake DCI poster indicating that Gichuki was wanted for spying in Kenya for China also went viral.
Havi’s concerns come days after Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga joined Kenyans in condemning the arrest of three senators early this week as the Senate debated on the county revenue sharing formula.
The two leaders accused the government of intimidating and blackmailing the senators in an attempt to sway votes amid the revenue sharing stalemate.