At a Glance
FOIA requests were filed with agencies on November 18, 2021.
New York University Law School Global Justice Clinic
Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI)
On behalf of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), the Center for Constitutional Rights and the NYU School of Law's Global Justice Clinic filed a FOIA request to the CIA, DOD, and other federal agencies regarding U.S. involvement in the extrajudicial killings and disappearances of civilians by the CIA-trained Kenyan Rapid Response Team (RRT) and other police and military forces. MUHURI is based on the Kenyan Coast and was founded in 1997 to promote the protection and enjoyment of human rights for all. Their website provides a platform for grassroots empowerment for marginalized and vulnerable people within the Coastal region of Kenya to realize and enjoy these fundamental human rights provided in law. MUHURI builds a collaborative space between state and non-state actors to achieve community peace building and development, as well as gender parity, demarginalization, and fairness and equity. MUHURI keeps the public additionally informed of human rights violations in the Northern part of Kenya and provides legal advocacy for victims of extrajudicial operations that include the murder, disappearance, and rendition of primarily Muslim civilians.
Family members of people disappeared and executed by police and paramilitary units in Kenya say the U.S. government is funding and fueling these abuses, and are demanding answers. The FOIA requests focus on grave violations committed by Kenyan units “set up, equipped, trained, funded, and/or guided” by the U.S. government.
The request comes after press investigations revealed that the U.S. government has close ties to a secretive Kenyan paramilitary team implicated in human rights abuses. The paramilitary Rapid Response Team (RRT) has perpetuated abuses with the support and guidance of the CIA and M16, Britain’s intelligence services, according to the reports. The reports also show how the CIA helped create the unit in 2004 when it flew future RRT officers to the United States for elite training, and has since armed, trained and guided the team on counterterrorism operations. An unknown number of “kill or capture” raids have reportedly been made by the 60-strong commando team, some based on mistaken identity. In one raid, RRT officers used CIA-supplied M4 carbines to kill Omar Faraj, a butcher shop cashier, apparently mistaking his home for a terrorist suspect’s.