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WikiLeaks wins Amnesty International 2009 Media Award

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June 2, 2009

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has won the Amnesty 2009 New Media Award for work exposing hundreds of recent extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya. The award was presented last night at a ceremony in London.

Four people associated with investigating the killings have themselves been murdered, including noted human rights lawyers Oscar Kingara and John Paul Oulo, who were assassinated driving to an afternoon meeting at the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights in March.

WikiLeaks first ran its first story on the subject for a week on its front page, beginning November 1, 2008. Eventually the story was picked up by print media, starting with Jon Swain from the Sunday Times. Earlier this year the United Nations sent a team to Nairobi, lead by U.N. Special Rapporteur Prof. Alston, to investigate.

According to AFP, earlier today a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council was told by the Rapporteur that Kenya's police were a "major stumbling block" for probes into the killings.

Prof. Alston also told that 47 member Human Rights Council on Wednesday that "Attacks on those who document abuses do not absolve a government of its obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for extrajudicial executions,".

In accepting the award, Mr. Assange stated "It is a reflection of the courage and strength of Kenyan civil society that this injustice was documented. Through the courageous work of organizations such as the Oscar foundation, the KNHCR, Mars Group Kenya and others we had the primary support we needed to expose these murders to the world. I know that they will not rest, and we will not rest, until justice is done."

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