The widow of a Pakistani journalist who was shot dead in October last year has sued the Kenya government over the unlawful killing of her husband.

Javeria Siddique, the widow of Arshad Sharif has sued the government and is demanding damages and a public apology for his killing.

In a suit filed at the High Court, Sidique alongside the Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association wants the court to compel the police to investigate the matter and bring charges against the officers who shot him.

Javeria who is also a journalist wants the Attorney General, Inspector General of Police l, Director of Public Prosecution and Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) compelled to preserve all evidence and reports collected in relation to the unlawful killing.

“The intentional taking of life by police officers is permissible only if it is strictly necessary to protect life from an imminent threat. Thus, the use of lethal against Arshad Sharif by shooting him on the head was arbitrary, unproportionate, unlawful, and unconstitutional,” says the widow

Sidique wants the court to declare that the unlawful shooting to death of Sharif in Kajiado County, on 23 October 2022 violated his right to life under Article 26 of the Constitution, the right to equal benefit and protection of the law.

“A declaration does issue that the Petitioners are entitled to effective remedies as guaranteed by Article 23 of the Constitution; Article 2(3) of the ICCPR; Article 14 of CAT; and Article 7(1) of the Banjul Charter for the violations of Arshad Sharif’s fundamental rights and freedoms through the unlawful and admitted shooting of Arshad Sharif by Kenyan Police officers at Kajiado County, Kenya on 23 October 2022,” she said.

She further argues that the failure to conduct independent, prompt, and effective investigation and to commence a prosecution for the killing violates the positive obligation to investigate and prosecute violations of the Right to Life, torture, inhuman, and degrading treatment under of the Constitution.

Consequently, they want the court to issue a mandatory order compelling the state to conclude investigating, take disciplinary action, and charge the police officers behind the killing of Sharif.

Sidique also wants the court to compel AG, Police and IPOA to supply her with copies of all documents, files, reports, letters, electronic mail (email) or evidence, in any medium, including but not limited to films, photographs, videotapes, in their custody, possession relating to the shooting in questions.

The petition is also seeking a public apology, including an acknowledgement of the facts, and acceptance of responsibility to the family.

Following the shooting, the police admitted the incident but claimed it was a case of ‘mistaken identity and promised to investigate the matter but since then, no on has been arrested and charged.

“Therefore, this petition questions the unlawful killing of Arshad Shariff by Kenyan police and the Respondents’ failure to investigate thus compounding the violation of his right to life under Article 26 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010,” says the widow.

The widow and two associations says the matter concerns the loss of the right to life, it is urgent and further delay in determining the petition is likely to lead to loss of evidence thus rendering the petition nugatory.

They argue that the extra judicial execution of Sharif violated his entitlement to equal benefit and protection of the law under Article 27 of the Constitution, Article 2 of the ICCPR, and Articles 3 of the Banjul Charter entitling every individual to equal protection of the law.

“By the same token, the summary execution deprived him of the right to a fair trial-a non-derogable right under Article 25(c) and 50(2) of the Constitution of Kenya,” her lawyer Dudley Ochiel said.

The lawyer says the delay in investigating the shooting violates their to prompt and impartial investigation of the alleged acts of torture or cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment.

He added that failure to offer remedy to the family violates Article 14 of the Convention Against Torture entitling victims to redress including an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation to their dependants in the case of death.

“The delay further violates Article 2 of the ICCPR entitling victims to effective remedy,” Ochiel said.


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