18 August 2012

Kenya: Police Under Fire Over Death of Baby in Cell

Human rights groups in Kericho have called on the police to take blame, following the death of an infant in a police cell. The infant was in the cell with its mother. The civil society want the police officers who allowed this to happen to be charged with contempt of court.

Lawyer Stella Koech said the death of Faraj Shaban would not have occurred if the police officers had obeyed a court order to have the one year-old infant admitted at Kericho District Hospital.

The infant developed health complications with his mother Susan Wanjiru at Kericho Police cells. Wanjiru had been locked up with Faraj and her first born son Felix Kinyanjui, who is four years Lawyers and human rights groups in Kericho county want some police officers charged with contempt following the death of an infant that died after being confined at local police cells together with his mother.

A human right representative Robert Ngeno called for quick implementation of police reforms saying the police force was still living in the old age when they used to degrade those they arrested by treating them like wild beasts. Mr Ngeno told commissioner of police M.Iteere to act and have the police officers who handled the matter of the infant arrested and charged with contempt

She was faced with obstruction charge and after confined in police cells for two days Faraj developed some health complications. When the mother was arraigned in court for the second day, sitting magistrate Mr W.N.Kaberia issued an order directing police officers to escort her to Kericho district hospital for treatment of little Faraj.

Diagnosing doctors ordered the little child be admitted but defiant police officers took the mother and his two children back to police cells where Faraj health deteriorated. On her second day at Kericho law courts,lawyer Stella could not stand seeing the dying child in the hands of his mother and angrily ordered her to rush him to the hospital but the little child died on arrival.

Stella says had the police officers obeyed doctors order to have the child admitted at the hospital may be the child would not have died. She said Kericho officer commanding police Station(OCS)and his officers handling the mothers case should be charged with court contempt.

The body of the little child was taken Kericho district hospital mortuary.He was buried the following day according to Islamic faith burial at the Muslim cemetery in Kericho town. A director with South Rift Inform Action Mr Tirop Kitur said the child would not have died had the police taken the child to hospital and be admitted as suggested by the doctors Tirop said the police officers are to blame for the death of the child for holding the mother in the cells for too long without taking any precaution measures on his health .

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