Kenyan Court Declares Arshad Sharif’s Killing Unlawful, Orders Compensation | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Kenyan Court Declares Arshad Sharif’s Killing Unlawful, Orders Compensation

Pakistan Press Foundation

A Kenyan High Court ruling on July 8 declared the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif unlawful, a violation of his fundamental rights, and ordered the Kenyan government to compensate his widow, Javeria Siddique, with 10 million Kenyan shillings (Rs21.7 million).

Sharif, a prominent journalist with a successful career in Pakistan, including hosting popular shows on major networks – including ARY News, Dunya News, and Dawn News TV – and receiving the Presidential Pride of Performance Award in 2019, was shot dead by Kenyan police on October 23, 2022. He had fled Pakistan due to sedition charges and sought refuge in Kenya after a stay in the United Arab Emirates.

The circumstances surrounding Sharif’s departure from Pakistan and arrival in Kenya remain unclear, but the court rejected the police’s claim of mistaken identity. Judge Stella Mutuku ruled that Sharif’s murder was unconstitutional, violating his rights to life and protection, and held top police and legal officials responsible for the unlawful killing and failure to investigate.

“The use of lethal force against Sharif by shooting him in the head was unlawful and unconstitutional,” Judge Mutuku ruled.

“Authorities violated Sharif’s fundamental right to life.”

Furthermore, Judge Mutuku ordered Kenya’s legal and police authorities to complete their investigations into the case and take necessary action, including punishing and prosecuting the police officers responsible for Sharif’s death if found culpable.

Javeria Siddique, along with two Kenyan journalist groups, filed a complaint last year against the officials. Her lawyer praised the court’s decision as a significant step towards police accountability. The court also found that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority had violated Sharif’s rights by not prosecuting the officers involved, ordering them to conclude their investigations and file charges.

In an emotional response, Siddique expressed gratitude for the support she received and emphasized the importance of justice for journalists.

The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) had honored Sharif with the 2023 Press Freedom Award, recognizing his contributions and highlighting the dangers faced by journalists. Sharif’s murder serves as a stark reminder of the risks they face in the line of duty, especially when forced to flee their home countries due to persecution.

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