Posted on April 21, 2012





Summary: Lived in fear:For a long time, Samir was a marked man. He knew police would get him Samir Khan, who was murdered 10 days ago in Mombasa, was my good client.

I last met him a few months ago when his aging mother cooked lunch for us at their humble mud house five kilometres from Likoni town She gracefully served us a sumptuous lunch of chicken biryani in a very traditional Swahili setting. Samir was a jolly nice guy. I have no doubt in my mind that members of the Kenya police killed Samir. For a long time, Samir was a marked man.

Both his family and friends knew his days were numbered. It was just a matter of when the police would slay him. Throughout the time I was with him, he expressed fear for his life. He voiced a premonition that he would be killed by the Kenyan police force.

He knew they would get him. And, two weeks ago, they indeed got him. Let us not beat about the bush.

The Kenya police force operates death squads that kill on the orders of those who call the shots in the chain of command. This is not my wild assertion. This is the finding of Prof Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur. It is members of the police death squad that killed Samir.

They were ordered to eliminate him! They will kill more in the future. There are no laws or powers that can stop them. It is high time the United Nations and members of the international community intervened and stopped the killing of innocent Kenyans by the police. There are two categories of Kenyans who face real and imminent danger from the police.

These are peasants in central province and Muslim activists. If you are a peasant from Central who supports either Paul Muite or Maina Njenga, you are a marked man.

The police death squads can pick you up, kill you and nobody will ever question them. The peasants are targeted because they have consciously decided to chart their own political future. They have refused to follow the dictates of the local elite and their billionaire barons. Muslim activists also face grave danger posed by the police force. They are easily vilified as terrorists who support either Al-Qaeda or Al-Shabaab. The police kill them or abuse their human rights at will.

The police target Muslim activists because they are a politically unrepresented minority. Samir and his family have lived in fear for the last 40 years. In 1976, when his father bought 360 acres of prime land at Ukunda from an English lady, little did he know that the acquisition would cause so much grief to his family.

Two months after the purchase, the government ordered him to surrender the land for settlement of people from Central and Rift Valley provinces. He refused. He was arrested and badly tortured. He nearly died in police cells. He fled to Tanzania for his life. The police raided, ransacked and beat everyone at his house.

That police harassment continued for 40 years. The Khan family wrapped the title deed in a polythene bag, dug up a hole and buried it for a good 40 years. When the government could not retrieve the title from the Khans, it issued another title, sub-divided the same land and distributed it among the settlers.

When I last visited Samir and his mother, the exhumation of the title was complete. The title was intact apart from a small portion eaten by ants. We then started the process of seeking compensation to the tune of Sh15 billion against the State.

I think 40 years is a long time for the Khans finally to get justice, but the Khans must get justice under the new Constitution. Despite the killing of Samir, justice must ultimately be available, even to an Asian Muslim!

Ahmednasir Abdullahi is the publisher, Nairobi Law Monthly   E:

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