A man in a suit stands before a news broadcast background.
Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif is pictured prior to recording an episode of his talk show at a studio in Islamabad, Pakistan, on December 15, 2016. A Kenyan court on July 8, 2024, ruled that the 2022 death of the Pakistani journalist by police in Nairobi was unlawful and unconstitutional. (Photo: AP)

Kenya court rules police unlawfully killed Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif

Kampala, July 8, 2024—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes a Kenyan court’s Monday ruling that Kenyan authorities violated Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif’s right to life and that his death was arbitrary and unconstitutional.

“CPJ welcomes the Kenyan High Court’s ruling that the 2022 killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was unlawful,” said Angela Quintal, head of CPJ’s Africa program, in New York. “While the verdict marks an important step towards ending impunity in this case, Kenyan authorities should ensure that genuine justice is achieved by prosecuting those responsible for Arshad’s fatal shooting.”

Sharif was shot and killed by police on the night of October 23, 2022, in a remote area outside the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in what police claimed was a case of mistaken identity. Sharif’s wife, Javeria Siddique, who sued the Kenyan government, believes her husband was targeted for his journalism. Sharif had sought safety in Kenya after fleeing Pakistan in August 2022 following death threats over his reporting on corruption.

The Kajiado County High Court awarded damages to Sharif’s family of 10 million Kenyan shillings (US $78,000) but suspended the payment for 30 days to allow the government to appeal the decision.

Siddique’s lawyer, Dudley Ochiel, told CPJ that the court’s decision was a “great precedent for police accountability” and the “timing could not be better.”

CPJ’s requests for comment, sent via messaging app to Kenya’s Attorney General Justin Muturi, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the Kenyan police, and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), did not receive an immediate response.

Editor’s note: This statement has been updated to clarify the police explanation for the shooting of Sharif.