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April 16 2010 | KENYA

Kenya

Death penalty might be abolished next June 27th on, thanks to an inmate's appeal, too

 
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Daily Nation

AG backs convict on death penalty plea

By MAUREEN ONYANGO

The Attorney General has supported a convict’s application to have the death penalty abolished. But Mr Amos Wako said he was agreeing with the prisoner’s arguments for only that particular case.

“The decision was made after consultations between key ministries, but it only applies for this case,” said Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko on behalf of the AG.

He was responding in a case in which Godfrey Ngotho Mutiso went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the death penalty, arguing that it was unconstitutional.

Appellate judges Riaga Omolo, Onyango Otieno, and Philip Waki had earlier directed the Director of Public Prosecutions and the AG to personally respond to the issue raised by Mutiso.

According to the convict, the death penalty, provided for under section 204 of the Penal Code, goes against a section of the constitution dealing with the protection of persons against inhuman and degrading punishment.

Through his lawyers, Mutiso said that, whereas all murder suspects were not of the same character, the section denied a convict the chance to mitigate. He further argued that the section also deprived a judge of his or her discretion since the penalty had been fixed.

Mutiso was sentenced to death last year by Mr Justice Joseph Sergon in Mombasa after he was found guilty of the murder of Mr Patrick Waweru Gachoki in Mkomani in 2004.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Sergon had indicated that there was overwhelming evidence because four witnesses had seen the incident. However, Mutiso is now serving a life sentence following a presidential pardon.

Grateful

He said he was grateful to the President for his kindness, but still wants the constitutionality of the death penalty addressed. The court will deliver a judgement on the case on June 27. About 4,000 death row inmates would escape the hangman’s noose if the appeal by Mutiso succeeds.

No executions have been carried out since 1984, when Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka, the convicted leader of the August 1982 coup attempt against former President Moi’s government, was hanged.

 

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