Kenya: Kericho Court Sentences 2 Convicts to Death for Violent Robbery

Nairobi — A court in Kericho has handed down a death sentence to two individuals, for their involvement in a violent robbery that took place in 2019 at Rai Cement premises in Kipsitet.

The victim of the robbery, Cheytan Vyas, the Managing Director of the company, tragically succumbed to his injuries after he was attacked by Julius Odundo and Joseph Muriithi on the fateful day.

Chief Magistrate Charles Obulutsa presided over the case, during which it was revealed that the duo forcefully robbed Cheytan of USD200, four suitcases containing items of unknown value, and other valuable possessions.

“Prosecution led by Ms. Lilian Fundi presented 9 witnesses in the case,” the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) said Friday.

The investigation into the incident was carried out by a multi-agency team consisting of the DCI, National Police Service, Cyber Crime Unit, and Homicide.

The conviction of the two individuals and their subsequent sentencing to death adds to the growing list of inmates in the country who are on death row.

Right to life

In January, a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Right (KNCHR) revealed that there are over 600 inmates in Kenya who are on death row, a sentence that is commuted to life imprisonment due a prohibition under Kenya’s post-2010 bill or rights.

(1) Every person has the right to life.(2) The life of a person begins at conception.(3) A person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the extent authorised by this Constitution or other written law.(4) Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.Article 26, Constitution of Kenya (2010).

The report dubbed “living with a death sentence in Kenya: prisoners experience of crime, punishment and death row,” launched on January 24, indicated that many more prisoners have been sentenced to death in the past decades but have had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

It revealed that the majority of those sentenced to death (56 per cent) were convicted of robbery with violence with 44 per cent of murder.

According to Roseline Odede, Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights, the demand to collaborate with regional and international human rights commissions is intended to mount a ferocious campaign for the elimination of the death sentence in Kenya.

“This call is guided by a number of reasons from a human rights perspective that death penalty is contrary to human rights, the right to life is a fundamental right enshrined in several human rights instruments, death penalty is not a deterrent and it’s irreversible,” she said.

Social standing

According to the report, the majority of people serving time for murder had just completed primary school, and more than one in ten had never had any kind of formal education.

“Fifteen per cent reported that they had been experiencing mental health problems, higher than the national average,” the report stated.

Only one in ten people, according to the report, had a full-time job that was permanent.

“Some 79 per cent of participants were in the two lowest categories of social stratification: ‘semi-routine’ or ‘routine’ occupations,” it added. “Their average wage was below the Kenyan minimum wage.”