Kenya: 'landmark' death penalty judgement must lead to full abolition

Commenting on the Kenyan Supreme Court’s ruling that mandatory death sentencing is no longer lawful in the country, Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Adviser on the Death Penalty, said:

“This landmark judgment is a significant step towards complete abolition of the ultimate cruel and inhumane form of punishment.

“It’s now time for the Kenyan authorities to take the required legal steps to abolish the death penalty fully and join the 105 countries that have completely consigned the punishment to history.”

The judgement was handed down this morning (14 December) following an application by two men who have been on death row in Kenya for the last 14 years. It means judges in the country now have discretion and will no longer automatically sentence to death people convicted of murder or armed robbery – the two crimes that are punishable by the death penalty in Kenya.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

Death penalty in Kenya

In Kenya, at least 24 death sentences were imposed in 2016. No executions were carried out. Kenya has not carried out an execution since 1987. On 24 October 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta commuted the death sentences of 2,747 people to life imprisonment.

Read more in Amnesty’s Death Sentences and Executions 2016 report.

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