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Kenya: Further information on torture / legal concern / fear of ill-treatment/ death penalty / health concern / corporal punishment: Koigi wa Wamwere, Charles Kuria Wamwere, James Maigwa, G G Njuguna Ngengi

, N° d'index: AFR 32/019/1995

The judgement in the trial of the above was handed down on 2 October 1995. Koigi was Wamwere, Charles Kuria Wamwere and G.G. Njuguna Ngengi were all sentenced to four years in jail and six strokes of the cane after an unfair trial which lasted more than 16 months. James Maigwa was acquitted.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 32/19/95
3 October 1995
Further information on UA 333/93 (AFR 32/12/93, 21 September 1993) and
follow-ups AFR 32/13/93, 29 September; AFR 32/14/93, 11 October; AFR 32/15/93,
25 October; AFR 32/16/93, 19 November; AFR 32/18/93, 26 November; AFR 32/20/93,
10 December; AFR 32/21/93, 15 December; AFR 32/22/93, 30 December; AFR 32/03/94,
1 February 1994; AFR 32/07/94, 14 April; AFR 32/11/95, 14 July 1995; AFR
32/16/95, 11 September 1995) - Torture / Legal Concern / Fear of ill-Treatment
/ Health concern / Corporal Punishment
KENYAKoigi wa Wamwere - human rights activist, former political prisoner, former
member of parliament
Charles Kuria Wamwere - former political prisoner
James Maigwa - brother-in-law of Koigi wa Wamwere and farmer
. Njuguna
Ngengi -
r for Molo
The judgment in this major political trial was handed down yesterday. Koigi
wa Wamwere, Charles Kuria Wamwere and G.G. Njuguna Ngengi were all sentenced
to four years in jail and to six strokes of the cane after a blatantly unfair
trial that lasted more than 16 months. James Maigwa was acquitted. None of
the four defendants, whom Amnesty International believes are prisoners of
conscience, were allowed to be present in court to hear the judgement.
All three were facing the death penalty after having been charged with robbery
with violence following an alleged raid on Bahati police station near Nakuru
in 1993. However, following widespread international appeals this charge, this
charge was today reduced by the magistrate to simple robbery. Each of the
three were convicted on two counts of robbery and sentenced to four years on
each count, to run concurrently.
It is clear that international appeals for clemency have saved these men's
lives. However further appeals are needed to demand their release and prevent
the use of corporal punishment which the organization considers is cruel,
inhuman and degrading punishment and which violates international law.
All three prisoners have the right of appeal to the High Court and Appeal Court.
However, without a time limit for hearing such appeals, the process often takes
several years.
Koigi wa Wamwere, his brother, Charles Kuria Wamwere, his cousin James Maigwa
and G.G. Njuguna Ngengi, a local councillor, were charged with attempted robbery
with violence following an alleged raid on Bahati police station near Nakuru
in November 1993. Shortly before his arrest, Koigi wa Wamwere had formed a
human rights organization, the National Democratic Human Rights Organization
(NDEHURIO), which had been attempting to investigate and report on incidents
of political violence in the Rift Valley and other parts of Kenya. Government
involvement has been alleged in the ethnic-based violence which has killed
over 1,500 people and displaced more than 300,000 since it began in December
Amnesty International believes that the police are increasingly abusing the
law by using non-bailable criminal charges to detain non-violent critics of
the government and their relatives. The organisation believes that their
arrest and sentencing to prison terms with corporal punishment is part of an
increasingly violent pattern of harassment and intimidation of human rights
activists, opposition figures and journalists. The tactics employed by the
Kenyan authorities are seriously undermining the right to freedom of expression
in Kenya.
The trial of Koigi wa Wamwere and his three co-defendants was attended regularly
by observers from national and international human rights organizations and
legal organizations. Observers raised a number of concerns which related
specifically to the conduct of the trial and the evidence and they questioned
the impartiality of the court. A clear impression was made on observers that
the four accused were not receiving a Proceedings in the trial came to an abrupt
halt in July after their defence counsel were denied the right to present their
final submissions orally.
The magistrate, William Tuiyot, ruled that he would only accept written
submissions from the defendants despite the fact that the prosecution had been
allowed to present their final submissions orally over 17 days. When the defence
refused on the grounds that it violated their right to fair trial enshrined
in international law the magistrate ruled that he would make his deliberations
using the final submissions from the prosecution and his own notes of the trial
In February 1995, the offices of two human rights organizations and one
opposition journal were fire-bombed. In August 1995, members of the unregistered
opposition Safina party and a number of lawyers and journalists were brutally
assaulted by over 50 men whilst attempting to visit Koigi wa Wamwere and his
co-defendants. Their assailants were identified by eye-witnesses as Kenya
African National Union Youth Wingers and plain-clothes Special Branch Officers.
Prison conditions in Kenya are harsh. There is severe overcrowding, frequent
shortages of food, clean water and basic medication.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in English or your own language:
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Koigi wa Wamwere,
Charles Kuria Wamwere and G.G. Njuguna Ngengi as prisoners of conscience;
- calling for the sentence of caning imposed on these three to be immediately
- stating that caning is cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment prohibited
by international human rights standards including the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (Article 5) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights to which Kenya is a state party, and calling for it to be abolished;
- urging Kenya to ratify the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman
and Degrading Treatment or Punishment which opposes caning;
- expressing concern at the conditions under which they are being held and
the fear that they will be ill-treated in prison.
(We ask that you write to your own Foreign Minister and send copies to your
local and national press to draw international attention to Amnesty
International's concerns.)
1) President Daniel arap Moi
Office of the President
PO Box 30510
Telegrams: President Moi, Nairobi, Kenya
Telexes: 22003 FOREIGN ROB or 22796 FOREIGN RB
Faxes: + 254 2 37340 (if dead tone, please try later)
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) Mr Amos Wako
Attorney General
P O Box 40112
Nairobi, Kenya
Telegrams: Attorney General Wako, Sheria, Kenya
Faxes: +254 2 211082
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
1) Paul Wamae
Chairman, Law Society of Kenya
PO Box 72219
Nairobi, Kenya
2) Your local and national press
and to the diplomatic representative of Kenya accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 14 November 1995.

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