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Rights defender threatens to sue blogger

[Haki Africa Rapid Response Officer Mathias Hezron Shipetta. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

Renowned Human Rights Defender Mathias Hezron Shipetta has threatened to file a defamatory suit against a blogger over a Facebook post published recently.

The Haki Africa Rapid Response Officer through his lawyer Yusuf Abubakar has issued 7 day ultimatum for Big Wigs Limited, a company that owns Bigwig Kenya News to immediately apologise and retract the Facebook post.

According to Mr Abubakar, the post accompanied with photos of Mr Shipetta with another person purported to be the human rights defender engaging with Deputy President William Ruto is injurious in nature and has caused the human rights defender a lot of pain, shame and lowered his reputation.

The advocate said the statement is defamatory in nature, injurious and depicted Mr Shipetta as a dishonest and who is inclined to politics and not foregrounding human rights issues.

“The post published on August 25, depicted the renowned human rights defender as an imposter, impersonator, masquarader, fraudster and a dishonest individual who is inclined into politics and not advocating for human rights,” read part of the redress letter.

Abubakar further indicated that the post has lowered Shipetta’s self-esteem, reputation, moral standing and estimation in the general public and in the right thinking member of the society.

“Because the posts is injurious, has lowered Shipetta’s reputation, image and integrity in the public eye and has also subjected him to public ridicule, we are pressing legal charges against the publishing company,” noted the lawyer.

The post on Bigwigs Kenya News Facebook page read;

Exposed!! William Ruto is sponsoring covid19 demonstrations, This guy is always seen at Karen during DP Ruto regular Empowerment programmes. The middle aged man who we are yet to identify his name has led the demonstration in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and Kisumu.

In response to the post that circulated in various groups Shipetta said;

My attention has been drawn to this blog post. For purposes of clarification they guy in the picture receiving donation is not me. I am a human rights defender based at the Coast and therefore my work is non-political. My sincere gratitude to all friends who have stood on my defence on the matter. Am reminded of a famous statement that corruption fights back. Indeed it’s fighting back with character assassination, propaganda and other forms. We will not be cowed by such posts, we shall defeat the Covid-19 thieves.

Abubakar also asked the organisation to accept liability to enable parties to deliberate on compensation in a week’s time failure to which the Human rights organisation will institute legal proceedings against Bigwigs News Kenya Limited.