Court grants Shs 10m to family of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif killed by Kenyan police

Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif killed by Kenyan police
Pakistani journalist and TV host Arshad Sharif was shot dead on October 23, 2022 night along the Nairobi-Magadi highway in what police termed a “mistaken identity.”

Kajiado, Kenya | By Michael Wandati | The High Court in Kajiado has granted a Shs 10 million ($78,000) compensation to the family of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot dead by Kenyan police officers in October 2022.

Arshad Sharif was a TV anchor known for his robust criticism of Pakistan’s powerful military leaders and corruption in politics.

Justice Stella Mutuku, in her ruling, declared that the use of lethal force against Sharif, who was shot in the head, was both unlawful and unconstitutional. She criticized the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and other investigative bodies for their slow progress in the investigation and failure to charge the officers involved in Sharif’s death.

Justice Mutuku emphasized that the state agencies mentioned in the petition bear responsibility for the incident, given their roles in the relief sought by Sharif’s family.

Represented by Advocate Dudley Ochiel, Javeria Siddique urged the court to order the Attorney General, the DPP, the Inspector General of Police, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, and the National Police Service Commission to provide all documents and evidence related to the shooting, including films, photographs, and videotapes.

Siddique argued that no justice had been served through investigations or prosecutions of those responsible for the killing.

Arshad Sharif had reportedly fled Pakistan in July 2022 to evade arrest for criticizing the country’s powerful military. He was killed in Kajiado in what police later described as a case of “mistaken identity.” The incident occurred on October 23, 2022, with police admitting to the fatal shooting.

The police claimed they were pursuing a different vehicle, a Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van KDJ 700F, allegedly stolen from Pangani. However, Sharif was traveling in a Toyota Land Cruiser (V8) KDG 200m.

In her judgment, Justice Mutuku noted it was unreasonable to leave the deceased’s family without updates on the investigation’s progress and its results.

“By shooting the deceased in the circumstances described in this case and which shooting has been admitted save for allegation that it was mistaken identity, the respondents violated the rights of the deceased,” said the Judge.

She said that the prominent Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was subjected to torture and the AG can’t escape responsibility.

“The petitioners have persuaded the court that Arshad’s rights were violated,” said the Judge.

“The Loss of life cannot be compensated in monetary terms nor is the pain and suffering the family must have gone through. But there’s consensus that compensation is appropriate remedy for redress in violation of fundamental rights,” she added.

Justice Stella Mutuku issued a mandatory order requiring the respondents to complete their investigation and take appropriate action, including disciplinary measures and prosecution of the officers involved in the shooting of Arshad Sharif in Kajiado on October 23, if found culpable.

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Additionally, she ordered the respondents to provide the petitioners with an update on the status of the investigations. She declared that the unlawful shooting by Kenyan police officers violated Sharif’s right to life, equal benefit and protection of the law, and his right to dignity.

The Sh10 million compensation awarded to Sharif’s family has been suspended for 30 days following a statement from state advocate Augustine Kipkuto, who informed the court that immediate payment was not feasible.

“Amount being sought are public funds. No provision for it now. Arrangements have to be made,” he said.

The judge accepted his request, suspending only the order on compensation.