March 31, 2014


Amnesty International reports worldwide executions rose in 2013. Here in Kenya, we’ve given out sentences but there have been no executions since 1987.

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Amnesty International reports worldwide executions rose in 2013

Amnesty International reports worldwide executions rose in 2013

There was an increase in the number of executions reported worldwide in 2013, according to a report (Death Sentences and Executions 2013) released by Amnesty International, a global movement of supporters, members and activists who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.

There was an increase of almost 15 percent in the number of reported executions in 2013, which stood at 778 in overall, compared to 2012. The executions were recorded in 22 countries during 2013 and almost 80 percent of all known executions worldwide were recorded in only three countries: Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Even though thousands of people are believed to be executed in China, amnesty never includes the country in its reports due to lack of credible reports as the executions are treated as a state secret

Some countries like Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Vietnam are reported to have resumed executions.


Amnesty International maintains that there is no convincing evidence that capital punishment is a particular deterrent to crime and opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The organization campaigns for total abolition of capital punishment.

The report covers the judicial use of the death penalty for the period January to December 2013.


Murder, treason and armed robbery are capital offences in Kenya. Although Kenya has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1972, it has neither signed nor ratified the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR allowing for the right of individual petition nor the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. 

This notwithstanding Amnesty International names Kenya among several sub-Saharan African countries that have made steps towards reducing executions or doing away with them altogether. Since 2008, Argentina, Burundi and Uzbekistan have abolished the death.


In 2009, former retired President Mwai Kibaki announced he was commuting all death sentences to life in prison. The decision affected over 4,000 prisoners in Kenya and is thought to be one of, if not, the largest commutation of death sentences anywhere in the world.


However, last year a Kenyan court sentenced a hotel resort worker to death after convicting him of being in a gang which murdered a British tourist and abducted his wife at an island resort on the Kenya coast. Magistrate Johnstone Munguti found 27 year old Ali Babito Kololo guilty of the murder of David Tebbutt, 58. Tebbutt’s wife Judith, 56, was abducted and taken to Somalia and held by pirates before being released after six months.

Kenya has not carried out a death sentence in the past 26 years and most sentences for death row prisoners are commuted to life imprisonment. The last hanging in Kenya took place in 1987, when the August 1, 1982, coup plotters Hezekiah Ochuka and Pancras Oteyo Okumu were executed following a court-martial.


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