Ex-Kenyan cop faces murder charges in high-profile case

A Kenyan court has resumed hearings in the murder trial of Ahmed Rashid, a former police officer accused of gunning down two unarmed teenagers in Nairobi seven years ago.

The incident, captured on video, sparked outrage and protests across the country, where police brutality and extrajudicial killings are a persistent issue.

Rashid, dubbed the “killer cop” by Kenyan media, maintains his innocence and claims he was acting in the line of duty when he shot the young men on a busy street in 2017.

The prosecution, however, paints a different picture. In a packed courtroom, Rashid’s former supervisor took the stand as the first of eight witnesses expected to testify against him.

This case carries significant weight. Rights groups have long accused Kenyan police of excessive force, particularly in impoverished areas.

Extrajudicial killings by police are a major concern, with few officers ever held accountable.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), established to investigate such cases, often faces obstruction from the police themselves.

Amnesty International sees this trial as a potential turning point.

“This case will hopefully break the tradition of impunity and set a new standard for police accountability,” stated Irungu Houghton, Amnesty International’s Kenyan executive director.

He further described the case as “potentially the case of the decade” due to the involvement of a former police officer testifying against a colleague.

The stakes are high. Local and international rights groups reported at least 118 extrajudicial killings by Kenyan police in 2023 alone.

Missing Voices, a campaign group dedicated to documenting these incidents, estimates over 1,350 deaths and 350 disappearances at the hands of police since 2017.

The verdict in Rashid’s case will be closely watched, with the potential to set a precedent for future police violence investigations and prosecutions in Kenya.

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