Kenyan Court Rules Killing of Pakistani Journalist Arshad Sharif Unlawful, Orders Compensation

In a landmark ruling on Monday, a Kenyan court declared the shooting death of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif in Nairobi in 2022 as unlawful and unconstitutional. The decision, delivered by Judge Stella Mutuku, criticized Kenya’s attorney general and director of public prosecutions for their lack of diligence in investigating Sharif’s death, which occurred when police fired upon his vehicle at a traffic checkpoint.

Sharif, who had fled Pakistan earlier to evade arrest on charges related to criticizing national institutions, was allegedly targeted by an elite unit of the Kenyan police. A report by Pakistani investigators described his killing as a “planned assassination,” suggesting the fatal shot was fired from close range or within the vehicle.

Despite ongoing investigations by Kenyan authorities, no arrests have been made among the involved police officers. The court’s verdict mandates the conclusion of the investigation and orders the government to compensate Sharif’s family with 10 million Kenyan shillings ($78,000).

Reacting to the ruling, Dudley Ochiel, the lawyer representing Sharif’s widow, Javeria Siddique, hailed it as a significant victory, emphasizing its global impact and the quest for justice. Ochiel expressed expectations for the attorney general to prosecute the officers responsible for Sharif’s death, highlighting the public outcry and international attention the case has garnered.

Javeria Siddique, who has been vocal in seeking justice for her late husband, noted that while Sharif cannot be brought back, the ruling confirms his death was deliberate, easing some of the family’s anguish. Initially attributed to “mistaken identity” amid a police search for a vehicle linked to a child abduction, Sharif’s killing sparked widespread grief and protests, particularly in Pakistan, where he was mourned by thousands at his funeral.

Pakistan has denied any state involvement in Sharif’s death, maintaining its stance amid the ongoing legal proceedings and international scrutiny surrounding the case.

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