Officers sent home over torture

Friday April 6 2012

By Angira Zadock [email protected]

Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere has ordered the suspension of General Service Unit officers who were captured on video torturing a man.

This comes as investigations into the 2009 incident, which Mr Iteere described as an embarrassing, were stepped up.

The police boss further said that initial investigations had already identified some of the officers involved in the incident, and that one of them was dismissed from service in 2011 for gross indiscipline.

The video capturing the incident — which occurred at a GSU camp in Kerita, Trans Nzoia County — was aired on NTV on Thursday.

In the video, more than 10 officers at a camp, some in civilian clothes, are seen torturing a young man in a yellow T-shirt by kicking, whipping and clobbering him.

At some point, two officers remove his pair of trousers and firmly hold him on the ground while others whip him.

Mr Iteere said the officers in question had just returned to the camp with the victim, whom they had arrested following a shootout with armed bandits after some of his accomplices escaped.

“This incident has embarrassed the Government of Kenya, the Kenya Police and the entire Kenyan public and we condemn it in the strongest terms possible,” he said, adding that the investigations had been taken over by the Criminal Investigation Department director, who is expected to forward the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions within seven days.

“The dictates of human rights as provided for in our Constitution become a natural instinct to all our officers whether on or off duty.

“I assure Kenyans that the officers will have their day in court and the victim will get justice,” said Mr Iteere.

Human rights activist Omar Hassan described the incident as the tip of the iceberg.

“I doubt whether any action can be taken as that was the same promise the police gave during the Langata road shootings,” he added.