U.S. priest's death finally ruled homicide in Kenya
A Kenyan court ruled August 1 that the death of an American priest who openly criticized the Kenyan government was a homicide, not suicide as an earlier investigation found. According to the Associated Press, the court also ordered the government to launch a new probe.
The FBI sent a team to look into Father John Kaiser's death in 2000 at the Kenyan government's invitation and concluded the Roman Catholic priest likely shot himself.
Senior Principal Magistrate Maureen Odero, who presided over the inquest in the death, described the FBI's work as "seriously flawed." But she said that based on the evidence she could not clearly identify who killed Kaiser.
Kaiser—a 67 year-old native of Perham, Minn., who had been in Kenya for 35 years—was found dead on the side of a busy highway between the town of Naivasha and Nairobi, the capital, on August 24, 2000. His shotgun was found by his side, and his pickup truck was 33 feet away in a ditch.
At least three FBI agents reported in April 2001 that Kaiser suffered from depression and most likely shot himself in the head. But the 80-plus page document was not a formal crime report, and the FBI acknowledged that "this analysis is not a substitute for a thorough well-planned investigation and should not be considered all inclusive."
Its conclusion was rejected by the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and Kaiser's colleagues, and calls grew for another probe.
Police at the scene initially said they believed he was slain and that it was made to look like a suicide.
Kaiser was known for his crusading human rights work, and had accused some of Kenya's most powerful politicians of being responsible for political violence in 1991-92 that was carried out under the guise of tribal fighting. He also helped teenage girls pursue cases of rape against a former powerful Cabinet member.