Four Kenyan police officers were charged Monday with murder in the killings of a human rights lawyer, his client and a taxi driver that caused an uproar across the country.
The four suspects were identified in court documents as Fredrick Leliman, Leonard Mwangi Maina, Stephen Cheburet Morogo and Silvia Wanjiku Wanjohi. They were charged in the high court in the capital, Nairobi.
The killings of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their driver Joseph Muiruri have caused protests over alleged extrajudicial killings by the police. Their bodies were pulled out of a river after they were abducted on June 23.
The bodies showed signs of torture, according to an independent pathologist who conducted a post-mortem examination. Mwenda’s testicles had been crushed and his skull was fractured, Dr. Andrew Gachii said in a report presented to the court. The other bodies had injuries from a blunt object.
Kimani worked as a lawyer for the International Justice Mission, a U.S.-based rights group. He was representing Mwenda, who despite threats had been pursuing charges against a police officer who shot him in an unprovoked incident in 2015.
Kenya’s police force is the most corrupt institution in the country, according to the global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International. It often has been accused of running death squads, among other abuses.
Since 2013, the government has been vetting Kenya’s entire national police force of some 81,000, trying to restore its image.