Two journalists grilled over coverage of alleged police rape attempt

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New York, June 14, 2000 — Two journalists from the daily newspaper The People were arrested on June 12 and questioned over an article alleging attempted rape by police officers in the district of Kakamega, sources in Kenya told CPJ.

After their arrest at The People’s regional office in Kakamega, Amos Majisu and Vincent Maluti were taken to the local police headquarters and interrogated for several hours about an article that ran in the June 10 edition of The People, alleging that police officers in Malava, a small rural town in western Kenya, had sexually assaulted three local women on May 24. No actual rape occurred, because the women bribed their attackers with 200 shillings each, CPJ sources say. The three women later contacted Majisu and Maluti to denounce the officers.

The two reporters were detained for nine hours after being interrogated, CPJ’s sources say. It was not until their editors phoned to protest their unwarranted detention that the two journalists were released. According to their colleagues, Majisu and Maluti were asked to print a retraction and confess to publishing false information, which they refused to do on the grounds that their reporting was accurate.

Upon their release yesterday, the two journalists were asked to report to investigating officers at the Criminal Investigation Division in Kakamega. They arrived there on the morning of June 13 and were again subjected to a day-long interrogation. Majisu and Maluti were then released without charge, pending further investigation.