March 26, 2017 (NAIROBI) – About 10 members from the family of four Kenyans jailed in South Sudan held a vigil Saturday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi to demand for their release.
- The detained Kenyan with their ambassador in Juba (NTV photo)
The event took place at Intercontinental hotel where South Sudan leader, Salva Kiir is residing ahead of the upcoming heads of states summit due in Nairobi next week.
On 29, March 2015, the four Kenyans working in South Sudan were arrested for alleged involvement in corruption at South Sudan’s presidency, tried without lawyers and sentenced to 72 years in jail.
The four who worked at Click Technologies Limited, include Boniface Chuma, Ravi Ghaghda, Antony Keya and Anthony Mwadime.
Last month, the families of four Kenyans also held vigils at the Foreign Affairs offices, hoping they would get a response from government.
The families said they learnt that the process that led to the arrests, detention, trial and eventual sentencing fell short of internationally accepted principals of fair hearing.
In an open letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the families said despite writing to the Office of the President on November 19, 2015 and January 24, 2017 about the matter, they never got a response.
Mid this month, relatives of four Kenyan citizens also appealed to the Kenyan leader to intervene and secure their release from prison.
In petitions published in Kenya’s Daily Nation and The Standard newspapers on 13 March, 2017, the relatives said the four Kenyans were “unfairly” tried and “wrongfully” sentenced, without following due process of the law.
“Boniface Chuma Muriuki, Ravi Ghaghda, Anthony Keya and Anthony Mwadime who were working in South Sudan were arbitrarily arrested on 29th May 2015, unfairly tried and wrongfully sentenced”, partly read the petition.
The petitioners strongly criticized the manner in which the processes that led to the arrest, conviction and eventual sentencing of the four Kenyans were handled by the South Sudanese government.
“These charges, Mr. President [Kenyatta] were falsified against them. The information available reveals that the process that led to their arrest, detention, trial and eventual sentencing fell short of major internationally accepted principles and standards of fair hearings in (any) material way”, argued the petitioners.
The Kenyan government, the petitioners said, acknowledged the innocence of the four through a 4 July, 2016 correspondence between the leader of the majority in Kenyan parliament, Adan Duale and Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amina Mohammed.
“The Government (of Kenya) strongly condemns this unjustified sentence impose on the four Kenyans and consequently, the Ministry has protested through a Note Verbale to the Government of South Sudan through their Mission here in Kenya. In this regard, I have summoned the South Sudan Ambassador in Nairobi to convey to his government our strong condemnation of this unbelievable and absolutely ridiculous judgment,” read the petition, which Kenya’s foreign affairs minister wrote.
It added, “These Kenyans have been condemned yet there was no evidence at all adduced in court linking them to the alleged crime”.