Kenya: DCI Cops Arrest Prison Warders Over Inmate's Murder

29 January 2020

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have arrested two prison warders over the murder of an inmate at the Naivasha Maximum Prison in June last year.

DCI said they arrested Sergeant Dennis Wandati Masibo and his junior, Constable Obadiah Meriti Lansika alias Masai, after an inquest into the death of Simon Nduro Gitahi concluded its investigations.

"The two will be charged with the murder of the convict contrary to section 203 as read with section 204 of the penal code," a statement from DCI boss George Kinoti said.

DCI said sections of the penal code criminalise causing the death of another person by an unlawful act or omission.

Late last year, the prisons department interdicted the two officers as the Homicide Investigations Unit of the DCI conducted a probe to determine whether they were culpable in the murder of the inmate.

The officer in charge of the prison, Mathew Mutisya, was also transferred to Prisons Headquarters and replaced with former officer in charge of Industrial Area Remand Prison, Samuel Ruto.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) released a report that stated that the 36-year-old inmate, who was serving a life sentence, was tortured on June 13, 2019 by the warders who should have instead protected him. He died two days later.

Details from the report indicated that a group of warders and inmates interviewed said the victim was beaten and later locked in seclusion without being given medical attention.

A postmortem report, KNCHR said, showed that the inmate died of circulatory failure in the brain, lung and kidney due to embolism in those organs.

The inmate's father, David Gitahi Nduro, had previously raised concerns about the pace of investigations into his son's death and asked police and IPOA to expedite their investigations and bring the officers to book.

"My son's body has visible bruises on the ribs, legs and has several open wounds," he told the Nation, while rejecting the prison authority's claim that he died after a severe asthmatic attack.

The Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) had alleged that the inmate was pulled from the queue by warders who then beat him up.

"The actions of the prison warders on June 13, 2019 point to a clear contravention of Article 25 of the Constitution, which states that freedom from torture and cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment shall not be limited," IMLU Director Peter Kiama said in a statement.

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