Court awards seven Nyayo era torture victims Sh28 million

Tuesday October 31 2017

Justice John Mativo

Justice John Mativo who has awarded Sh28 million to seven victims of police brutality for the torture they underwent two decades ago during the Nyayo era. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Seven victims of police brutality have been awarded a total of Sh28 million for the suffering they underwent two decades ago.

The victims, who included a former bodyguard of multiparty crusader Kenneth Matiba, Boniface Wanjohi, were arrested between December 1986 and 1990 and tortured for days by police who were trying to extract information from them.

The seven moved to court through lawyer Gitau Mwara accusing State agents of torturing and subjecting them to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Mr Kuria Chege Wamere, an uncle of former Subukia MP Koigi Wamwere, was arrested at his home in Engashura, Nakuru and questioned about his family relationship with Mr Wamwere.

MWAKENYA

He was also asked about his alleged visit to Uganda, an ammunition store and his connection to Mwakenya, all which he said he knew nothing about.

He was detained for ten days at Nyayo House and later released without trial.

Mr Isaac Kinya was arrested over alleged interference with the railway line in Nakuru and detained for one month.

He was later charged and sentenced to 14 years in jail but the conviction was quashed a year later.

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

Mr Stanley Ngigi said he was arrested at his Engashura home on December 16, 1990, while Cornelius Mulumia was arrested at his home in Bungoma Town and held in solitary confinement over alleged connection with the dissident Mwakenya movement.

Two other victims were Mr Joab Otieno Ndonji and Pascal Wandera.

In reply, Attorney-General Githu Muigai opposed the case citing inordinate delay.

But in his judgment, Justice John Mativo said it would be against the dictates of transitional justice to uphold the defence of limitation, considering the difficulties Kenyans experienced at that time.

The judge said it was not possible then for aggrieved parties to seek redress in such cases.

According to the judge, the former constitution, just like the current one, prohibited torture and acts of inhuman and degrading treatment.

He said the actions visited against the victims in his view amounted to torture and a gross violation of their constitutional rights.

“I am persuaded that the petitioners proved to the required standards that they were physically tortured and subjected to unwarranted cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Their rights were violated by the police. They suffered both psychological and physical harm,” the Judge said.

Although he stated that it may not be easy to quantify denial of fundamental rights and freedoms, the Judge ordered the State to pay each of them Sh4 million.


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