Inside Kenya’s Death Squads, produced by the network’s Investigative Unit, features the testimony of a number of members of Kenya’s counter terrorism units. Each states that the police assassinate suspects on government orders. They claim orders come from the National Security Council, a body chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The documentary was neither “malicious” nor “unethical,” Each point made by the GoK is erroneous and misinformed.
• The promotional material for the documentary never claimed death squads had killed 500 clerics.
• The identities of all persons interviewed and documents released were checked and verified.The investigation was the confirmation of an allegation that has been widespread in Kenya for many years:
• In 2009, Wikileaks published a document that provided evidence that over 500 young men were killed or made to disappear in a police campaign.
• The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, declared in 2010: “I have received overwhelming testimony that there exists in Kenya a systematic, widespread and well-planned strategy to execute individuals.”
• In August 2014, Human Rights Watch issued a report that concluded: “There is strong evidence that Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) has carried out a series of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.”
Al Jazeera rejects this claim.
While the team that conducted the investigation is based outside Kenya, the statement appears directed at journalists within the country who examine and report on government abuses.
We note that the GoK is proposing new legislation seeking to punish journalists who are found guilty of “undermining security operations.” According to reports, the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014 seeks to jail such persons for up to three years or fine them five million Kenyan Shilling (55,000 USD) or both.
Al Jazeera defends the right of journalists to freedom of expression and condemns attempts to restrict the work of professional journalism. It stands by colleagues in the profession facing acts of aggression and harassment.
The full documentary is available to watch and embed at https://www.youtube.com/