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Kenya Supreme Court Rules Death Sentence Unconstitutional
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 20:34:45 CST by kwpnews


Nairobi (KBC) - The Supreme Court has declared the death penalty unconstitutional. In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court judges ruled that section 204 of the penal code which provides mandatory death sentence for murder is not consistent with the constitution.

The Judges however said the decision does not outlaw the death penalty which is applicable as a discretionally maximum sentence.

The Supreme Court was yet again the focus of the country as it made a landmark ruling to abolish section 204 of the penal code which states that any person found guilty of murder, robbery with violence, treason and other capital offences shall be sentenced to death by hanging.

The judges led by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justice Njoki Ndung’u and Jackton Ojwang declared that the provision is harsh, unjust and unfair as it compromises the chance to a fair trial.

In a case challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty, the Apex Court was however quick to observe that their decision to abolish the mandatory death sentence for murder does not mean the sentence to death by hanging is not applicable.

Instead, the court ordered the Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecution and other relevant agencies to prepare a detailed professional review in the context of the judgment and set up a framework to deal with re-sentencing of those on death row.

The Attorney General will then submit a progress report to the court within 12 months’ time.

In the case, two death row convicts Wilson Thirimbu Mwangi and Francis Karioko Muruatetu who have been in jail since 2003 had petitioned the court for a retrial and further wanted the court to do away with the mandatory death penalty.

The landmark ruling could conceivably change the legal landscape and tear down barriers that have existed for over 121 years since the colonial government introduced the death penalty in the country.

Kenya now joins 139 countries under the United Nations to abolish the death penalty in law.

However, there have been no executions in the country since 1987 with those sentenced to death serving lifelong jail terms unless pardoned by the president.

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