Kenyan court rules 2022 killing of a Pakistani journalist was unlawful

Widow of Arshad Sharif to get £61,000 in compensation two years after killing

Munir Ahmed,Evelyne Musambi
Tuesday 09 July 2024 04:17
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A Kenyan court on Monday ruled that the 2022 shooting death of a Pakistani journalist by police in Nairobi was unlawful and unconstitutional, a lawyer and his family said.

Justice Stella Mutuku in the ruling in Nairobi also faulted Kenya's attorney general and the director of public prosecutions for laxity in investigating the shooting of Arshad Sharif, after police opened fire at his car at a roadblock checkpoint.

Sharif's family has accused an elite Kenyan police unit of intentionally killing Sharif. The 50-year-old journalist had fled Pakistan earlier that year to avoid arrest at home on charges of maligning Pakistan’s national institutions.

A panel of Pakistani investigators in December 2022 concluded that the killing of Sharif was a “planned assassination.” Their report suggested that the bullet that fatally wounded Sharif was fired from either inside the car or from close range.

Kenyan authorities are still investigating the killing and none of the police officers linked to the shooting has been arrested or charged.

In Monday's verdict, the court asked Kenyan authorities to conclude their probe of the officers. The court also ordered the government to compensate Sharif's family 10 million Kenyan shillings ($78,000).

Senior Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif poses for a photograph prior to recording an episode of his talk show at a studio in Islamabad, Pakistan
Senior Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif poses for a photograph prior to recording an episode of his talk show at a studio in Islamabad, Pakistan (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Dudley Ochiel, a lawyer for Sharif’s widow, Javeria Siddique, said the ruling was a “big win for the man's family and friends in Kenya, Pakistan and all over the world.”

Mr Ochiel said he expects the public prosecutor to file a case against two officers suspected of fatally shooting Sharif at the roadblock.

The killing shook Pakistan and days later, thousands came out for Sharif’s funeral.

Pakistan has said no state institution was involved in his death.

Ms Siddique, who filed a complaint against Kenyan police together with Kenyan journalists’ unions, said although she knew that her husband would not come back, “at least now everyone knows that he was killed intentionally”.

Police had initially blamed the shooting on “mistaken identity” during a search for a similar car involved in a child abduction case.

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Musambi reported from Nairobi, Kenya.

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