Human Rights Activists Assassinated

On March 5, 2009, two leading human rights defenders, Mr. Oscar Kamau King’ara and Mr. John Paul Oulu (also known as GPO), both of Oscar Foundation, were executed in cold blood by a group of men in two vehicles. The two were driving to meet Mr. Kamanda Mucheke of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights at his office. Eyewitnesses have said that the assassins were policemen. In fact, the minibus driver was in police uniform.

An eyewitness at the scene was also shot in the leg and was later taken away from the scene by policemen. We are calling upon the police to reveal the whereabouts of this man since he might be the only one who can positively identify both the assassins and their vehicles. Therefore, we fear for his life.

Oscar was a trained lawyer and a human rights advocate who was the Chief Executive Officer of Oscar Foundation. He was a member of the Law Society of Kenya.

Mr. GPO Oulu was a former student leader, and an educationist who has worked for many human rights organizations, including the Youth Agenda. He left the Youth Agenda recently to join the Oscar Foundation
as the Communications and Advocacy Officer.

Oscar Foundation is a registered charitable organization that offers free legal services to the poor. One of its major projects has been organizing caravans to offer free legal aid to the poor around the country. The Foundation has a strong track record researching corruption in the police force, the prisons, and police brutality against the urban poor. Its latest activity was researching and documenting cases of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings of Kenyans.

The Oscar Foundation has been a major source of information to Parliament on atrocities committed against the poor in the country. On February 18, 2009, before Parliament debated the motion on extra-Judicial killings, Mr. King’ara presented Oscar Foundation’s findings on ongoing extra judicial killings to Hon. Peter Mwathi, the motion’s mover. The Oscar Foundation’s last engagement with Parliament was a presentation to the Kioni Committee investigating organized gangs a couple of days ago.

We believe that Mr. King’ara and Mr. Oulu were killed because of the sensitive information they had shared with both Prof. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and with Kenyan MPs, on the extent of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings of Kenyans.

We hold the Government Spokesman, Dr. Alfred Mutua, complicit in the two murders for making wild allegations that the Oscar Foundation was a civil society front for Mungiki, and that “we are going to deal with it.” What does he know about the assassinations? Was this what he meant by “dealing with” the Oscar Foundation?

As we condole with the families of the deceased, we assure them, and the nation that their deaths are not in vain.

Kenya National Commission for Human Rights and other Kenyan Civil Society Organisations

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One thought on “Human Rights Activists Assassinated

  1. Violence – in all its many forms – is abhorrent to all who believe human life is a gift of God and therefore infinitely precious. Every attempt to intimidate others by inflicting indiscriminate death and injury upon them is to be universally condemned. The answer to Criminal gangs (Mungiki or death squads) however, cannot be to respond in kind, for this can lead to more violence and more terror. Instead, a concerted effort of all people is needed to remove any possible justification for such acts.Acts of violence are criminal acts, and should be addressed by the use of the instruments of the rule of law, both locally and internationally.

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