Kamiti inmates urge policy to guide life, death sentences

Wednesday March 23 2016

Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

More by this Author

Inmates at Kamiti Maximum Prison have called on the Judiciary to develop a policy that would clarify life and death sentences.

The inmates regretted that there is very little difference between the two types of sentences and consequently the rights of those affected are being violated.

Mr Peter Ouko, on behalf of his fellow inmates, told Chief Justice Willy Mutunga that they want the Judiciary to interpret what it means to be sentenced to life.

The Chief Justice was also taken through the frustrations most members of the public endure in their search for justice.

In one instance, Justin Masoro Nyakundi had a criminal case that was finalised in 2012 and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

However, an appeal he lodged in 2013 has not proceeded, because the file is missing.

“I have made several attempts to have copies of the file and judgment without success. I inquired from a senior judicial officer at the Kibera Law Courts, but I was told the file was destroyed maliciously,” explained Kefa Masereti in a letter he handed over to the Chief Justice.


Mr Said Kiondo Imako Kari, a Tanzanian national who has been in prison for the last 29 years after he was convicted of murder, pleaded with the CJ to recall his file for further scrutiny. Most of his co-accused have been released through a presidential pardon.

The inmates also said they want to be allowed to vote in the next elections because the matter had already been determined by a court and they had voted in the first referendum. They said they want the voter registration exercise extended to them as well.

They were speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the Court Users Committee at the Kamiti Maximum Prison.

Dr Mutunga urged the inmates to appoint their representative who would articulate their issues before the Court Users Committee.

He, however, said that the issue about life and death sentences is already being litigated in court and the inmates should await the outcome of the case.

Mr Joshua Siambe, a deputy director probation, also challenged the inmates to be honest when called upon by the probation officers to provide certain information.

Dishonesty, he said, had weakened some of their cases in court and even reduced their chances of being pardoned.