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Police under fire over detention of female city lawyer.

Police in Nairobi have come under fierce criticism over the detention of a city lawyer with the Law Society of Kenya terming the move impunity and blatant abuse of public office.

The police pounced on lawyer Zamzam Abib on Friday at the beginning of the long Easter weekend and held her for three consecutive days without bond.

The youthful advocate was only freed on Monday afternoon from the Kilimani police station as pressure mounted.

Her law firm, Abib and Associates reportedly recalled an RTGS payments of Sh6 million her firm had issued to one Salim Ali Sheik on the instruction of a client.

The rescinding of the payments sparked a dispute and Sheik sued Zamzam in an ongoing civil case at the High Court.

Her arrest sparked protests with lawyers claiming complainants are using connections in the police to intimidate the advocate.

LSK President Allen Gichuhi said the police were being malicious. He said LSK will write a protest letter to Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai.

Gichuhi said LSK pitched camp at Kilimani police station since Friday but their pleas resulted to naught.

'We have tried since Friday to have the police release her on bail and they have refused. We can't understand. The offence that they are claiming to be investigating is stopping an RTGS instruction, surely!'Gichuhi protested.

He said the arrest and subsequent detention of Abib were malicious.

"There is more than meets the eye. This is a young lady, she is a mother, she has ulcers, they are just keeping her there for no reason and we will insist on having a meeting with the IG himself. This is unacceptable. We are not just talking about her as a lawyer but the rights of every Kenyan citizen.'

Gichuhi said all suspects are entitled to bail unless "you are a flight risk."

Recently, the courts awarded lawyer Boniface Akusala Sh2 million for illegal detention by police.

'Needless to say, this court takes judicial notice of the fact that lawyers have, in the recent past, been victimised by police officers while in the course of their duties. Who will stand up for the rights of the downtrodden in society? It would appear the actions of the police, if not checked, would make the legal practice a matter of life and death,' Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled.

The Judge noted that Akusala's case was a classic example of how police officers operate with impunity.

Abib's arrest sparked protests from lawyers with many taking to Twitter to express their outrage.

Lawyer Nelson Havi said Abib was a victim of 'extortionists with strong connections in the police service.'

'The extortionists have resorted to abuse of police power to put pressure to bear on an advocate, to pay a demand that is not due or lawful. This is corruption of the highest level,' Havi wrote.

Former National Assembly Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim protested the arrest of 'a young mother on Good Friday."

"Denying her bail because of a matter that is purely civil is the height impunity," Farah said.

NASA chief executive Norman Magaya claimed police, working in cahoots with the complainant, continuously sent emissaries to Abib to pay the Sh6 million or she would not be released."

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Apr 23, 2019
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