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Oct 17, 2017

Strathmore Law School Clinic at Kamiti Maximum Prison

Strathmore Law School Clinic, together with the NGO’s International Commission of Jurists as well as the African Prisons Project, recently commemorated the World Day against the Death Penalty at the Kamiti Maximum Prison.

 

The day’s event commenced with entertainment from the prisoners which drew ruptures of joy from the inmates who were present in the hall.

 

The entertainment was then followed by a panel discussion that featured Clinic members presenting papers. Abdullahi Ali and Keega Gachutha presented on abolishing the death Penalty: Lessons from Uganda, while Brigid Gesare and Joy Murugi, discussed The Legal Argument against the Death Penalty. The Director of the Strathmore Law Clinic, Emmah Wabuke, analyzed her presentation on Developing a winning and Holistic Communications Strategy.

                                                                                               

Two inmates who were among the panelists shared their stories on facing the death penalty. They explained the block which has a direct view of the hangman’s noose and the psychological torture of facing death daily and the reality and trauma that comes with it.

 

Peter Ouko, who has spent 18 years on death row at Kamiti Maximum Prison was granted clemency in 2016. He described his experience as frustrating, stating the lack of progress given the annual commemoration of the death penalty. Peter urged the audience and all the civil societies present to come up with an action plan that would abolish the penalty completely.

 

The discussion session concluded with a question and answer session, where inmates expressed their concern towards Members of Parliament who fail to consider the abolition of the death penalty. In their view, MPs do not care for the plight of those facing the act. The Supreme Court case on the abolition of the mandatory nature of the death penalty was taking far too long in their opinion and it ought to be adjudicated on as soon as possible.

 

To conclude the day’s informative session was the participation into the Jeffersonian Roundtable, moderated by Clinic member Abdullahi Ali. Inmates, Law Clinic members, African Prison Project representatives, as well as the International Commission of Jurists representatives, engaged in discussion on wide ranging issues under the theme of the abolition of the Death Penalty. Topics engaged in the discussions included, the operationalization of the Legal Aid Act, role of civic society in the abolition of the death penalty, the psychological effect of the death penalty on death row inmates, amongst others.

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