Unwarranted Arrests

An arrested person has a right to know why they have been arrested and to contact their relatives or lawyers. Ask why you have been arrested and inform your contacts of the police station you are being taken to. You can also contact HRD defenders.

What to do when arrested

Immediately contact and notify a friend, colleague or lawyer. explaining the situation.

Organizations to contact

When you are arrested: Several organisations have contacts that HRDs can use in the event of such an arrest

  1. Defenders Coalition call  their helpline 0716200100
  2. Kituo Cha Sheria has  a text message service, M-haki, which enables Kenyans to receive legal advice via text. Text your legal query to 0700777333.

Where financial assistance is required

Where you need financial assistance arising out of such an arrest contact the following organisation(s):

  1. Frontline Defenders offers a security grant. The online application form is available here
  2. Where a HRD prefers to self-represent themselves in court, this resource is useful.

When you anticipate arrest

Where you anticipate arrest:

  • contact a criminal lawyer with knowledge on digital rights or a legal aid organisation such as Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
  • Encrypt or delete sensitive information that could put you or others at risk
  • Hand over devices with sensitive information to trusted HRD defenders

More information on the threat

As an arrested person you have certain rights that arise as soon as you are arrested:

a) to be informed, in a language that the person understands, of

  •  the reason for the arrest;
  •  the right to remain silent; and
  •  the consequences of not remaining silent;

(b) to remain silent;

(c) to communicate with an advocate, and other persons whose assistance is necessary

(d) not to be compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against the person;

(e) to be held separately from persons who are serving a sentence; this means that one is not a prisoner and they have a right to be held in remand and not prison meaning one still has their ‘home clothes’.

(f) to be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, and not later than

  •  twenty-four hours after being arrested; or
  •  If the twenty-four hours ends outside ordinary court hours, or on a day that is not an ordinary court day, the end of the next court day;

(g) at the first court appearance, to be charged or

informed of the reason for the detention continuing, or to be released; and

(h) to be released on bond or bail, on reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial, unless there are compelling reasons not to be released. It is important to know that bail is payable in installments.

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