Pres­i­dent Uhuru com­mutes all death sen­tences to life im­pris­on­ment

2,747 Death Row in­mates get re­prieve as Pres­i­dent also re­leases 102 long serv­ing con­victs.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta yes­ter­day signed com­mu­ta­tion doc­u­ments turn­ing all death sen­tences into life jail terms.

In­vok­ing the Power of Mercy pro­vided by Ar­ti­cle 133 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, he also signed a par­don war­rant and re­leased 102 long-term con­victs. The re­prieve for the 102 con­victs came af­ter a thor­ough vet­ting by the Power of Mercy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee.

Fol­low­ing the sign­ing at State House, Nairobi, some 2,747 Death Row con­victs will now serve life im­pris­on­ment — 2,655 males and 92 fe­males.

The last com­mu­ta­tion of death sen­tences to life im­pris­on­ment was done in 2009 by Pres­i­dent Mwai Kibaki.

The Power of Mercy is a pre­rog­a­tive con­ferred on the Pres­i­dent by the Con­sti­tu­tion and en­tails grant­ing par­don to re­formed and re­ha­bil­i­tated con­victed crim­i­nal of­fend­ers, who de­serve early re­lease from prison.

This de­vel­op­ment comes only days af­ter the Pres­i­dent par­doned 7,000 petty of­fend­ers who were about to com­plete their sen­tences.

Mak­ing the an­nounce­ment dur­ing this year’s Mashu­jaa Day cel­e­bra­tions in Keny­atta Sta­dium, Machakos, Uhuru once again urged the ju­di­ciary to speed up graft cases pend­ing in court.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Githu Muigai, In­te­rior CS Joseph Nkaissery, Power of Mercy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee sec­re­tary gen­eral Michael Kagika, Prisons Com­mis­sioner-Gen­eral Isa­iah Osugo and Chief of Staff and Head of Public Ser­vice Joseph Kinyua were present dur­ing the sign­ing.

Cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment was for­mally in­tro­duced into the Kenyan le­gal sys­tem by the Bri­tish dur­ing the colo­nial era. Af­ter In­de­pen­dence, the coun­try con­tin­ued to ap­ply the penalty.

How­ever, no ex­e­cu­tions have been car­ried out in Kenya since 1986, when Hezekiah Ochuka and Pan­cras Oteyo Okumu were hanged for trea­son. In June, the Power of Mercy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee em­barked on a coun­try­wide cam­paign to col­lect views from Kenyans on cap­i­tal of­fences and the death penalty.

“The ob­jec­tive of the de­bate is to pro­vide an open di­a­logue on what Kenyans want, with re­gard to han­dling cap­i­tal of­fend­ers and cap­i­tal of­fences,” Kagika said at the time.

/PSCU

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta signs the com­mu­ta­tion of all death sen­tences into life im­pris­on­ment at State House, Nairobi, yes­ter­day. Chief of Staff and Head of Civil Ser­vice Joseph Kinyua, In­te­rior CS Joseph Nkaissery, Chief Jus­tice David Maraga, Kenya Prisons Com­mis­sion­erGen­eral Isa­iah Osugo, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Githu Muigai and Power of Mercy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee sec­re­tary Michael Kagika look on

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