Kenyan journalist held overnight at police station

David Odongo, a journalist with the privately owned weekly Nairobian newspaper was summoned to Nairobi’s Embakasi police station for questioning the evening of April 15, 2016, according to the Kenya Union of Journalists and news reports. Not long after he arrived, the union and news reports said, police arrested him and held him overnight.

Odongo told reporters in remarks televised after his April 16 release that police had given him shifting explanations for his arrest. One officer asked him questions about a story he had written about a businessman involved in a land dispute with a relative, he said. At another point, a police officer told him he had been arrested for “misusing a telecommunications gadget,” a charge Kenyan prosecutors have brought against journalists for their activity on social media websites.

Odongo was released without charge at 10 am on April 16. There had been widespread outcry on social media about his arrest. Reacting to Odongo’s arrest, Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary General Eric Oduor told the privately owned Nation newspaper that powerful individuals were increasingly using the police to harass and intimidate reporters who published stories they did not like.