Tortured for being underprivileged and vulnerable

E.M (name withdrawn for security reasons) is a fourteen-year-old minor from Nairobi County. He comes from the impoverished area of Dandora. He is a Form Two student at Secondary School in the same area. Dandora is one of the chanciest places to live especially for youths in Kenya. This slum area is marred with violence and murders. Dandora slum just like Mathare, records the high incidences of forced disappearances and extra judicial executions especially among the youth. Most are innocent victims just like the case of E.M*.

On the fateful day, while returning home from visiting his aunt, police stopped the matatu E.M was travelling in; handcuffed and whisked him away. They alleged he had been mugging motorists along the highway to the surprise and bewilderment of other passengers.

E.M narrated that he was physically assaulted by the police officers who arrested him. He says they severely hit him with wood planks and electrical cables on the head hands and torso. The medical report would later confirm evidence of physical violence. While at the police station, they booked him on charges of highway robbery and shoved him in the cells with adult inmates who sexually abused him.

While in the cells, E.M said, he was held for days without bail or being taken to court. One of the police officers ordered they drench him in cold water on him. In another dehumanising incident, he was forced to sleep in the toilet. His health deteriorated fast. The family had no option other than bribe for his release for the fear of him contracting Covid 19 as the cells were so crowded.

He was rushed to hospital for medical and psychological interventions. Attempts to report and record statements to the police station on the abuse of rights and torture were openly denied.

E.M suffered immense trauma. He completely stopped from going to school. Suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. For fear of retribution from the police, he did not want to take part in seeking justice. Currently, he has been under going through trauma counselling and psychosocial support by IMLU. He has made good progress in terms of processing the trauma occasioned by tortures he was subjected and he is on the path to recovery. He is livelier and alert. The sense of apprehension is melting away and his grades that had drastically dropped have been steadily on the rise. After future sessions, the Psychologist reports that E.M*’s meaning of living will be restored.