February 11, 2009

The Honorable Mwai Kibaki C.G.H. M.P
President of Kenya
Office of the President
PO Box 30510-00100
Fax: +254-20-313600
Major General Mohamed Hussein Ali, M.G.H.
Commissioner of Police
PO Box 30083
Fax: +254-20-240955

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our shock regarding the murder of reporter Francis Nyaruri.

According to our information, Francis Nyaruri, a journalist who wrote for the private Weekly Citizen under the pen name Mong’are Mokua, was found decapitated with his hands bound in a forest in western Kenya on January 29, 2009. Mr. Nyaruri had reportedly been missing since January 15, 2009. Police confirmed his death, and reported that the body was covered in marks at the time of discovery. Prior to his disappearance, Nyaruri had written a series of articles that exposed financial scams and other malpractice by the local police department. He had subsequently received unspecified threats by police officers in the area, according to local journalists.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned that Francis Nayuri was killed immediately after being threatened by police, and that he may have been killed for exercising his right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Kenya is a signatory. We therefore urge the Kenyan authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation into his murder as a matter of urgency, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Hannah Pakula                  
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee   

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: His Excellency Peter Ogego
Embassy of the Republic of Kenya
2249 R Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 462-3829

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