A Samburu woman has sued the German Embassy for illegally using her portrait to market the Lake Turkana Festival.
Mrs Talaso Lepalat, a resident of Loiyangalani sub-location in Marsabit County, said in an affidavit filed in the High Court in Nairobi by her lawyer that her photograph was taken without her written consent and used.
As a result of the use of the picture to market the event, she said, her husband had physically assaulted her, calling her names because “culture dictates that before you can appear in public, you have to seek the consent of the head of the home (who in this case is the husband)”.
Mrs Lepalat said that she and her three children were then kicked out of their home and attempts by the chief to intervene had fallen on deaf ears.
Some time in 2012, the respondent and other sponsors, she recalled, organised and recorded a commercial dubbed the Lake Turkana Festival which was to take place in her village at Loiyangalani in Marsabit.
POSTED ON WEBSITE
An embassy official, Mr Lepalat said, unlawfully took her photograph and posted it on their website to promote the event.
She told the court that she was shocked to learn that the website had her photograph.
“The domain name was not disclosed to the petitioner upon inquiry by one J. Harrington, who is in charge of the webmaster. He stated that they could not release the details of their source to third parties,” the affidavit says.
The complainant said that the embassy had, despite her numerous protests, continued to use her portrait on its website, while updating it from 2012 to April 2014.
The action, she said, did not take into account her cultural beliefs, taboos and the norms of her community.
“Both my family and I suffered a lot of pain, humiliation and embarrassment in my Samburu community, whose members have shunned me as one who disrespects our culture. The result of the usage remains a source of anguish and psychological trauma in my memory,” she said.
The photograph, she said, was taken in contravention of her constitutional right to privacy and international laws and other instruments.
Ms Lepalat is thus seeking compensation for the violation of her privacy, the physical and emotional pain caused to her and special damages for the cost of medication.
The case will be mentioned before Mr Justice Isaac Lenaola on October 28.