Kenyan Court Awards Compensation to Widow of Pakistani Journalist Killed by Police

widow of Arshad Sharif, a prominent Pakistani journalist shot dead by police at a roadblock nearly two years ago.

Arshad Sharif, known for his robust criticism of Pakistan’s powerful military leaders and political corruption, had fled Pakistan after receiving death threats. His killing in Kajiado, Kenya, two months later caused outrage, with UN experts criticizing both Kenya and Pakistan for their slow response.

Kenyan police claimed Sharif’s death was a case of mistaken identity. However, his widow, Javeria Siddique, alleged it was a contract killing orchestrated on behalf of an unnamed individual in Pakistan.

On Monday, the Kajiado High Court ruled that Kenyan authorities had acted unlawfully and violated Sharif’s right to life, awarding Ms. Siddique compensation plus interest until full payment. Justice Stella Mutuku stated, “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 an appropriate remedy for redress in violation of fundamental rights.”

The judge also ruled that Kenya’s director of public prosecutions and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority had violated Sharif’s rights by failing to prosecute the police officers involved. The court ordered both bodies to conclude investigations and charge the officers.

Ochiel Dudley, the lawyer representing Sharif’s widow, called the ruling “a win for the family and a win for Kenyans in their quest for police accountability.” Ms. Siddique expressed gratitude to the Kenyan judiciary but vowed to continue seeking justice for her husband. “This ruling has come as a relief to me and my family, but I will not relent in getting maximum justice for my husband,” she said.

The Media has requested a response from Kenyan authorities regarding the ruling. Conflicting police accounts of Sharif’s death initially claimed he was in a Toyota Land Cruiser mistaken for a stolen vehicle, and later suggested a passenger in the car had opened fire, prompting officers to shoot back.

Ms. Siddique, also a journalist, filed the lawsuit with the Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association last October, seeking transparency, an apology, and accountability for what they termed Sharif’s “targeted assassination.” She continues to campaign for the protection of journalists and is seeking assistance from the UN and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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Piers Potter


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