Wednesday June 19, 2024

Arshad Sharif’s killing planned, says Kenyan rights activist

By Murtaza Ali Shah
November 18, 2022

NAIROBI: The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has said that journalist Arshad Sharif was killed in a “clearly planned and executed” murder conspiracy.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, the Kenya Human Rights Commission’s Martin Mavenjina said everything in Arshad Sharif’s murder investigation points to the hallmarks of “an inside job.”

Martin Mavenjina, who is a lawyer at Kenya’s High Court and works for the lead human rights organisation in Kenya, told this reporter that Arshad Sharif’s “murder was planned and executed” and “it simply shows that he was monitored over a good period.”

The question is, “How did the security agencies know he was in that specific locality then?”

Martin Mavenjina said the Kenya police used the excuse of mistaken identity, but there is no corroborative evidence of a false identity and their position is unsustainable.

Martin Mavenjina, who has documented human rights abuses by the Kenyan police, accused the Kenyan police of being notorious for unlawful killings. The KHRC, over the last couple of decades, has documented cases of unlawful killings and enforced disappearances through the missing person coalition.

Martin Mavenjina said: “The Kenya police are guilty as charged. Their excuse of mistaken identity doesn’t hold water because when you make a complaint to the police, you clearly describe the vehicle. In this case, the vehicle in which Sharif was travelling was a V8 Landcruiser. These are the vehicles used by cabinet members, parliamentarians and VIPs.”

The human rights advocate said that Kenya’s constitution guides the police on respecting and protecting human rights, but “look at how Arshad Sharif was killed, and it shows there was an outright disregard for the constitution and human rights.”

“In my honest opinion, Arshad Sharif’s killing was planned and choreographed.”

According to Martin Mavenjina, Kenya’s police force ranks third in the world in terms of corruption.

“We have instances where Kenyan police killed innocent people, including a human rights lawyer, and it took over four years to investigate and follow the due process to get the officers convicted.”

The Kenya Human Rights Commission official said that his organisation, with help from the Mission People Coalition, has, over the last five years, documented over 200 cases of unlawful killings and disappearances by the police. “In the first six months of the Covid outbreak, police killed more Kenyans than the disease. There were over 25 killings in the first six months.”

Martin Mavenjina said it was clear that Arshad Sharif’s shooters were “well trained over a long period.”

“Ordinarily it is tough to get a headshot on a very specific target or an individual in a moving vehicle, even at a close range. But if you look at the circumstances in which Arshad Sharif was shot in two places, this was well-planned. The roadblocks were placed for a purpose.

“When there are roadblocks in Kenya, people are told there will be roadblocks for ID checks, etc. but there was nothing in this case.”

Arshad Sharif was invited to visit and stay in Kenya by the Nairobi-based property developer Waqar Ahmed, the brother of Khurram Ahmed, who was driving Arshad Sharif on the fateful night of Oct 23, 2022 when Arshad Sharif died in a hail of bullets rained on him by the Kenyan police in a deserted area.

Both Waqar and Khurram have been questioned by Pakistan’s investigation team — FIA director Athar Wahid and Intelligence Bureau (IB) deputy director general Omar Shahid Hamid — to ascertain the facts of the journalist’s murder.