Murder of a lawyer in Kenya: death sentence and 24 and 30 years in prison for three police officers

Murder of a lawyer in Kenya: death sentence and 24 and 30 years in prison for three policemen


Three police officers were sentenced in Kenya on Friday to prison terms ranging from 24 years to the death penalty, after being found guilty in July of a triple murder with torture, including that of a lawyer, in 2016. 

Lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri disappeared on June 23, 2016 after a hearing in a suburban court from Nairobi. Their mutilated bodies were found a week later in the Ol Donyo Sabuk River, southeast of the capital.

“The court considered this murder to be most repulsive, with planning and execution meticulous,” Judge Jessie Lesiit told the Nairobi court on Friday.

The murders of the three men, preceded by torture, had aroused great emotion in the country and led the Kenyan bar association to declare a one-week courtroom strike.

The young lawyer's client, a driver of mototaxi, accused police of harassing and intimidating him into dropping a complaint against a senior law enforcement official who he said shot him for no reason in April 2015.

< p>Me Kimani's wrists had been tied, three of his fingers cut off and his eyes gouged out, according to the Kenyan press.

Fredrick Leliman, a police officer, was sentenced to death. “The first defendant being a police officer hired to protect lives acted in flagrant abuse of his position,” Judge Lesiit said. Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiku, both also police officers, were sentenced to 30 and 24 years in prison respectively. A fourth person, Peter Ngugi, who had helped officers dispose of the bodies, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In July, Judge Jessie Lessit said that “based on the evidence presented, there is no reasonable conclusion other than their guilt.”

The four convicts have announced that they will appeal the decision. 

Okay Although the death penalty is enshrined in Kenyan law, the last execution in the East African country was in 1987. In recent years, death sentences have been commuted by presidents.

< p>The Kenyan police are regularly accused of extrajudicial executions by Kenyan and international human rights organisations.

Kenyan President William Ruto, elected in August, announced on October 16 the dismantling of the dreaded Special Services Unit (SSU), a police unit created 20 years ago and under fire from criticism after cases of d enforced disappearances and murders. The Head of State also promised an overhaul of the police.