Condemnation, outrage over arrest of Amnesty International Kenya’s chairperson Renee Ngamau

Amnesty International said on Tuesday that its Kenya Chairperson Renee Ngamau was arrested on Monday night for rallying her neighbors to peacefully oppose private development on public land designated as a playground.

Renee Ngamau, who is also the chairperson of her Jamhuri Phase 1 neighborhood in Nairobi, was released on bail last night and ordered to appear before the Kibera Magistrate’s Court in Nairobi.

Amnesty International Kenya’s chairperson Renee Ngamau 
Amnesty International Kenya’s chairperson Renee Ngamau

After more than two hours of waiting in the court and no charges presented, she presented herself to the Kilimani Police Station to prevent re-arrest.

Following today’s no show by the police in court, Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director Irungu Houghton condemned her arrest, saying she was targeted simply for as acting as human rights defender

“Amnesty International condemns the arbitrary arrest of our Kenya Chairperson Renee Ngamau. We believe she was targeted simply for as acting as human rights defender to protect public land. The Kenyan Police Service must end harassment, intimidation and attack on Renee Ngamau, human rights activists and public land defenders,” Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director Irungu Houghton said in a statement.

“Authorities should protect those defending other people’s rights, and not use the criminal justice against them.” 

“Our Chairperson Renee Ngamau has been through an enormously stressful ordeal. She was arrested for the leadership she provides in her community as the Chairperson of the Jamhuri Phase 1 Residents Association. The Association has been peacefully protesting diversion of public land allocated for a children’s playground.

“On the basis of a single complaint, 11police officers were mobilised to arrest Renee Ngamau from her home last night. This morning, not one bothered to show up in court. No one should ever be arrested simply for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly. We call on the authorities to drop any charges and direct their energies towards investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the diversion of land away from public use,” Irungu Houghton added.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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