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Jamhuri Day arrests - update on Frederick Odhiambo and other brave Kenyans

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  • George Nyongesa
    Dear Kenyans and friends of Kenya,   Further to my previous emails, in efforts to trace Frederick Odhiambo, my colleagues and I spent the day today
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13, 2008
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      Dear Kenyans and friends of Kenya,
       
      Further to my previous emails, in efforts to trace Frederick Odhiambo, my colleagues and I spent the day today making several trips to various police stations around Nairobi. We finally found Frederick Odhiambo was being held at the Nyayo National Stadium police station since yesterday after he had been arrested for attempting to serve the president with a citizens' petition on matters close to our hearts concerning food prices, fuel prices, basic commodity prices, MPs taxation, the Media Bill and the general culture of impunity. However, for an unknown reason the police had repeatedly misled us by telling us that he was not being held at Nyayo National Stadium.
       
      When he was found, Frederick Odhimabo was being held in a very tiny cell. Mr Odhiambo is relatively tall and the cell was so tiny that he had not been able to sleep the whole night since he could not lay down and fit in the cell without being most uncomfortably cramped. He was suffering from sheer exhaustion, mental torment, not to mention the physical injuries that had been inflicted upon him since he was arrested. Mr Odhiambo had been beated and even been repeatedly injured in his private areas.
       
      It is only after Bunge la Mwananchi and its friends kept up the pressure to see him and even invited members of the press to the police post that Chief Inspector Francis Mati issued orders for Mr Odhiambo's transfer to Langata police station and authorised that he be taken for medical attention. We took Mr Odhiambo to Nairobi Women's Hospital which has expertise in handling cases of physical brutality. Mr Odhiambo was immediately admitted and is currently convalescing at Nairobi Women's Hospital under police surveillance.
       
      In the meatime, we've been following up at police stations trying to trace anyone that may have been arrested and fallen below the radar. In Garissa, the four people who had been arrested have since been released. In Nakuru, we have lost touch with and are unable to reach the person who was providing us with information. We are still trying to get details from Eldoret and MUHURI is following up arrests in Mombasa.
       
      Bunge la Mwananchi will be joining the Kenya National Civil Society Congress at 10 am at Panafric Hotel tomorrow (14th December, 2008) to issue a press statement on the Jamhuri Day happenings and fallout. We will assess Jamhuri Day events and aftermath and then issue the way forward. You are most welcome to attend and stand with us in solidarity.
       
      Thank you for all the support that we have been receiving since yesterday. However, as more and more Kenyans are traced at police stations, we invite your further and continued support in the form of:
       
      -  keeping this matter in our leaders and others' minds by keeping it in the news and discussion forums,
      -  funds towards cash bails to secure releases,
      -  funds to cover hospital costs for those injured under custody,
      -  solidarity in lobbying for the immediate release of all arrested, including Mwalimu Mati and his wife,
      -  visiting those still in police custody, bringing along food for them for breakfast/lunch/supper, bringing along warm clothing for those who have to spend the night in police custody or are keeping vigil outside the police stations 
      -  financial and moral support for the families affected by the arrests and
      -  attending any court appearances scheduled for next week for those formally charged with offences.
       
      We are most appreciative for your part in fighting for Kenyans' rights.
       
      Regards,
      George Nyongesa
      Bunge la Mwananchi
      +254 720 451 235
      Skype: mwananchimzalendo
       
      Bunge la Mwananchi is a social movement and a member of the Kenya National Civil Society Congress
       

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