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Kenyan Government Ordered to Pay Ksh 10M to Family of Murdered Pakistani Journalist

In a landmark ruling, the High Court of Kenya has ordered the government to compensate the family of Pakistani TV journalist Arshad Sharif with Ksh 10 million following his mysterious murder in 2022.

High court judge Stella Mutuku declared on Monday morning that Sharif’s killing was unconstitutional, violating his rights to life and protection.

Sharif’s widow, Javeria Siddique, led the family’s legal battle against the government, arguing that the state failed in its duty to protect Sharif, who was wrongfully killed by Kenyan police in Nairobi on October 23, 2022. The government has requested a 30-day suspension of the ruling to file an appeal, which the court granted.

Sharif fled Pakistan due to threats against his life, only to be shot dead by Kenyan police under circumstances described as a case of mistaken identity. Kenyan officials claimed police mistook Sharif’s vehicle for one driven by car thieves and opened fire when the vehicle failed to stop at a roadblock.

However, a two-member fact-finding team from Pakistan, established to investigate the murder, reported several contradictions in the Kenyan authorities’ account. The team suggested that Sharif’s death was a pre-planned assassination rather than a case of mistaken identity. Their findings, submitted to Pakistan’s Supreme Court, indicated that the shots were likely fired at a stationary vehicle after taking proper aim.

“The members of the fact-finding team believe it is a case of planned targeted assassination with transnational characters rather than a mistaken identity,” the report stated. It highlighted discrepancies between the autopsy reports from Kenya and Pakistan. The Pakistani post-mortem identified 12 injuries on Sharif’s body, while the Kenyan report noted only two gunshot wounds. Doctors speculated these injuries could indicate torture or a struggle, though this remains unverified by the Kenyan doctor who conducted the post-mortem.

Kenyan authorities have refrained from commenting on the specifics of the report. “The investigation into the matter is still ongoing, so there is not much I can tell,” said Resila Onyango, spokesperson for the Kenya National Police Service.

Sharif had fled Pakistan amid threats to his life after multiple treason cases were registered against him, one of which was related to a report that allegedly incited mutiny within the armed forces. Both Sharif and the accused official from the previous government, led by Imran Khan, denied the charges. Khan and his successor, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, called for a judicial investigation into Sharif’s murder, suspecting it was linked to his journalistic work.

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