Kenyans Demand Answers in the Death of Human Rights Activist Caroline Mwatha
Police say she died from a 'botched abortion," but many Kenyans remain skeptical over the cause of her death due to her status as a whistleblower.
Carloine Mwatha, a human rights activist who documented extrajudicial killings by Kenyan police, was found dead on Tuesday after having gone missing last Wednesday.
Her disappearance led many Kenyans and international organizations, such as Amnesty International, to rally online using the hashtag #FindCarolineMwatha in order to help locate her, but hopes of her safe return, were dimmed on Tuesday after her body was found at the City Mortuary in Nairobi.
A police report, released on Tuesday, claims that Mwatha died from abortion-related complications, though the validity of these findings are being brought into question.
So far, six people have been arrested in connection to her death, according to the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, including Mwatha's boyfriend Alexander Gitau Gikonyo, the owner of the clinic and his son, a doctor, her Uber driver and another suspect identified as Georgia Achieng' Tabitha.
Despite reports pointing to a botched abortion as the cause of death, several Kenyans are seeking more proof in order to rule out that Mwatha's death may have been related to her work as an activist who documented illegal killings by police through her work with the Dandora Community Justice Centre. According to the Daily Nation, members of her family believe the abortion story to be a "cover up" by the police.
They are demanding that an independent post-mortem be conducted immediately, in order "to find the truth."
The story has also raised discussions around the lack of safe abortions in Kenya. Abortion is illegal in Kenya unless it is determined that the mother's or baby's health is in danger. However, according to statistics shared in Capital News, as many as 400,000 women undergo abortions every year.
Many are sharing heartfelt messages of condolence for Mwatha, who is being remembered for her fearless human rights work.