[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Feb 28 17:00:45 CST 2005
Death Row Prisoners' Appeal to Their Loved Ones
Sentenced to die for serious crimes, the stories of men and women on death
row read like eerie tales. But they are real.
Immediately they are sentenced to death, life takes a turn for the worse.
Family members and friends desert them. No one comes visiting at the
prison. One is left to walk to the sunset of his or her life in
It is at "Condemned A" where those waiting to be executed spend their days
at the Kamiti Maximum Prison. At Langata Women's Prison, those on death
row languish at the cell named "Condemned".
At Kamiti, the inmates of "Condemned A" wake up to a life of routine
boredom. They do not do manual work like other inmates. Once in this
section, one does not need to work. There is no point in working if they
are going to die anyway. The prisoners are not expected to return to
society with skills to earn them a living either. So they eat and while
away the time as they wait for their fate.
They are neither visited by their relatives and friends nor do they get
information about what is happening in the outside world. Their cell is
next to the execution chamber, a grim reminder of their proximity to
"Going to sleep everyday knowing that the execution chamber is next to you
is torture enough," says one of the convicts.
The women inmates waiting for death at the Langata Women's Prison are not
any different. Though looking slightly more relaxed, their worst torture,
they say, is not knowing the fate of the children they left behind.
In maximum prisons, death hovers really close. But for these convicts,
death comes even earlier, when they are abandoned by their families and
"We are not yet dead, please do not bury us alive, come and visit," is the
message from these men and women waiting for execution at an unspecified
According to the inmates, the main reason no one visits them is because
they are believed to have been already executed.
Yet except for those who may have died of natural causes, most of the
death row prisoners are alive.
The last legal execution took place in Kenya in 1987. It may seem that the
Government has in principle stopped executions. Although the courts still
mete out the penalty, in reality it is never executed.
If one is lucky, he or she is released on presidential clemency. For
instance, in February 2003, President Kibaki released 28 prisoners on
death row and commuted 195 others to life sentences.
The other reason why death row convicts are not visited is the nature of
the crime they committed. Some may have killed a relative or done
something that makes them a pariah, and are left to carry the guilt to the
Currently, there are 102 death row inmates at Kamiti Maximum Prison, while
Langata Women's Prison had 26. The number keeps rising depending on how
many are convicted by the courts.
There have also been indications that the Government will do away with the
death penalty. Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kiraitu Murungi
has said a number of times that the Government wants to repeal that law on
grounds that it is barbaric and has no place in modern society.
Whether they are innocent of the crimes they have been convicted of
remains debatable. What is certain is that their fate is sealed.
Many of the condemned inmates have appealed several times over their
sentences without success. Others are still awaiting ruling on their
Regardless of the sentence, convicts long for visits from friends and
relatives to give some consolation in life that there are people who care
for them. But this is slow in coming.
"We try our best to trace relatives of inmates who have not been visited
for a long time. We write letters to them to get them to visit the
inmates, but sometimes, the crime committed may have driven a wedge
between the inmates and their loved ones and it becomes hard to reconcile
them," says Mr Charles Muraya, the officer commanding Kamiti Maximum
Years come and go and prisoners on death sentence keep staring through the
bars hoping for a day their names will be called out announcing the
arrival of a visitor - a relative or a friend. Hardly does that happen.
Eventually, anguish and uncertainty set in and bring to bear the full
weight of the death sentence.
(source: The Nation)
Rotan only if death sentence overturned
The 20-year-old jail term and 10 strokes of the rotan imposed on Canny
Ong's killer Ahmad Najib Aris for raping her, in addition to the death
sentence for her murder, is puzzling to some.
However, lawyers clarified that the 29-year-old Ahmad Najib will only
serve his jail term and be whipped if he wins an appeal against the death
Criminal lawyer Jerald Gomes said this was provided for under Section 289
(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The section states:
"No sentence of whipping shall be executed by instalments, and none of the
following persons shall be punishable with whipping, (namely) females,
males sentenced to death and males whom the Court consider to be more than
50 years of age."
He said this meant that whipping was prohibited if a person were sentenced
to death. In the event of the appellate court reducing Ahmad Najib's
charge, however, he said Ahmad Najib would be whipped and serve his jail
The former aircraft cabin cleaner was given the maximum jail term of 20
years and 10 strokes of the rotan for rapping Ong.
Bar council President Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari said Ahmad Najib would be
given an automatic appeal against the death sentence.
"He will not be whipped, jailed or hanged immediately as he will undergo
the appeal process. This will take some time as he can also appeal to the
Federal Court," he said.
One of Ahmad Najib's lawyers, Haniff Khatri Abdulla, said they would be
filling the notice of appeal at the Shah Alam High Court registry.
(source: Daily Express)
More information about the DeathPenalty