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Weekly Human Rights Roundup

Extrajudicial killing of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and their taxi driver

Exactly six years and one month ago, three people among them an advocate attached to the International Justice Mission disappeared never to be seen again.

The bodies of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and the taxi driver were found one week later stashed in gunny bags and thrown into a river near Donyo Sabuk. Their disappearance after attending a court case at Mavoko law courts caused a panic because both Mwenda and Kimani were under protection after receiving threats on several occasions.

A Kenyan court has found three policeman and a civilian guilty of murdering human rights lawyer Willie Kimani in 2016. Kimani’s body was found with that of his client and a taxi driver, showing evidence of beating and torture before they were killed.

The post-mortem report into the deaths of Messrs. Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda, and Joseph Muiruri showed that they were brutally beaten and tortured before being killed. The pathologist found that human rights lawyer Mr. Kimani suffered from a skull fracture after being repeatedly hit in the head with aheavy object. The taxi driver, Mr. Muiruri, also had injuries to his head and appeared to have been strangled. The client, Mr. Mwenda, appears to have suffered the most with injuries to his head, neck and chest. He also suffered from a skull fracture and had blood in his chest.

On July 2, 2016, Inspector-General of PoliceJospeh Boinett confirmed that three AP officers, Frederick Leliman, Stephen Chebulet andSylvia Wanjiku were being held in relation to the killings. They appeared in court on Monday, July 4, 2016, where the judge ordered that they be held in custody for two weeks until investigations are carried out. The same day, hundreds of Kenyan human rights defenders launched street protests in Nairobi calling for justice in response to the killings. MORE

Dozens of Malawians arrested in anti-‘selective justice’ protests

The activists are demonstrating against what they call selective justice by the country’s judiciary in recent months.

Lilongwe, Malawi – Police in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe have arrested 75 people including human rights campaigners during a clampdown on protests against “selective justice” by the country’s judiciary.

The arrests followed a last-minute high court injunction that attempted to ban the demonstrations.

Police spokesperson Hastings Chigalu confirmed the arrests on Wednesday saying they were due to “lawlessness” and that people were looting and breaking into shops, smashing vehicles and blocking roads. One of the protest leaders, Kingsley Mpaso, of Lilongwe-based civil rights group Human Rights Ambassadors, told the media his group was unfazed by the arrests and that protesters would fight on until justice prevailed. The activists are demonstrating against what they call selective justice by the Southern African country’s judiciary in recent months. They cited the case of a teenager, Mussa John — who was given an eight-year jail sentence by a magistrates’ court for being found with cannabis. However, a prominent business executive reportedly found cultivating the plant in his compound was only given a fine by the courts. READ MORE

Ivory Coast’s controversial polygamy bill: All you need to know

The bill to make polygyny legal in the West African state has sparked a debate online and offline over women’s rights.

The Ivory Coast’s legislature is debating a bill that would legalize polygamy but only for men who wish to marry more than one wife. The proponents of the law argue that the practice is already widespread, but the lack of recognition harms secondary spouses who can be divorced without any form of support, while opponents of the bill argue that it enshrines a practice that subjugates women and, if it is adopted in any form, should also allow for polyandry. MORE: (Al Jazeera ) (The Herald Zimbabwe) (Le Monde).

Ethiopia: Authorities must investigate massacre of ethnic Amhara in Tole

The Ethiopian authorities must urgently launch an impartial investigation into the summary killing of over 400 Amhara residents of Tole Kebele in Oromia region on 18 June, Amnesty International said today.

“These horrific killings in Tole, allegedly at the hands of the Oromo Liberation Army, reveal its perpetrators’ utter disregard for human life Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa Amnesty International is calling for an “impartial” investigation into the killing of more than 400 ethnic Amharans in Oromia, Ethiopia, around June 18. (Amnesty International).

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