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Kenya: Arrest of Amnesty International Kenya’s Chairperson, Renee Ngamau, is an attack on human rights defenders

    Photo: © Amnesty International Kenya
    September 15, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Following last night’s arrest of Amnesty International Kenya’s Chairperson and advocate, Renee Ngamau, and today’s no show by the police in court, Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director Irungu Houghton said:

    “Amnesty International condemns the arbitrary arrest of our Kenya Chairperson Renee Ngamau. We believe she was targeted simply for as acting as human rights defender to protect public land. The Kenyan Police Service must end harassment, intimidation and attack on Renee Ngamau, human rights activists and public land defenders.”

    “Authorities should protect those defending other people’s rights, and not use the criminal justice against them.”

    “Our Chairperson Renee Ngamau has been through an enormously stressful ordeal. She was arrested for the leadership she provides in her community as the Chairperson of the Jamhuri Phase 1 Residents Association. The Association has been peacefully protesting diversion of public land allocated for a children’s playground.

    “On the basis of a single complaint, eleven police officers were mobilised to arrest Renee Ngamau from her home last night. This morning, not one bothered to show up in court. No one should ever be arrested simply for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly let alone arrested and arraigned in court. We call on the authorities to drop any charges and direct their energies towards investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the diversion of land away from public use.”

    Background

    Amnesty International Kenya Chairperson Renee Ngamau was arrested on the evening of 14 September for rallying her neighbours to peacefully oppose private development on public land designated as a playground. She is also the chairperson of her Jamhuri Phase 1 neighbourhood in Nairobi.

    She was released on bail last night and ordered to appear before the Kibera Magistrate’s Court in Nairobi. After more than two hours of waiting in the court and no charges presented, she presented herself to the Kilimani Police Station to prevent re-arrest.

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    For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca

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