Kenyan activist’s family seek autopsy, fear ‘abortion’ cover-up

13 Feb 2019 / 18:32 H.

NAIROBI: The family of a Kenyan activist who went missing for a week before turning up dead, have questioned police claims she died of a botched abortion, and demanded an autopsy.

Caroline Mwatha went missing last Wednesday, prompting Amnesty International to raise the alarm over her disappearance, given her sensitive work lobbying against extra-judicial killings by police.

Police announced on Tuesday she had been found at a Nairobi mortuary, and that investigations had shown “the intended abortion of a five-month old pregnancy”.

A police statement from Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said Mwatha had been communicating with a boyfriend who sent her US$60 (€53) to procure the abortion, and had been admitted to the mortuary under a fake name last Thursday.

He said six people, including the owner of the clinic, a doctor and the alleged boyfriend, have been arrested.

However many Kenyans are sceptical over the cause of her death, due to a long history of state violence, police brutality and extrajudicial killings which go unpunished.

“We have never seen Caro with a pregnancy, she was not pregnant, how can she have been aborting?” her father Stanslus Mbai told journalists at the mortuary.

“It is puzzle to us. Very strange because I have looked at the body. She has a deep cut on the thigh and stomach, is that abortion?”

He also questioned why her phone had kept ringing during the time she was missing, and said he had received a missed call from her number during the time she was reportedly already dead.

“A lot is not adding up, this is a cover up,“ he said.

“We want the truth and nothing but the truth in this. We must have an independent postmortem to know the truth.”

Authorities have said they are waiting for the government pathologist to arrive from Naivasha, some 80km from the capital, to carry out the autopsy.

Mwatha’s husband Joshua Ochieng, who has been living in Dubai, was also suspicious: “The body has a very big cut on the thigh, how can that be an abortion?”

Khalid Hussein, a director at human rights organisation Haki Africa, also demanded a swift autopsy.

“What is this they are trying to hide? The truth must be known because we are not buying this theory.” — AFP

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