Human rights activists in the UK have gone to a British court to challenge the conviction of a Kenyan man to death, after he was found guilty of being in a gang which murdered a British tourist and abducted his wife at an island resort on the Kenya coast in 2011.
THE MURDER OF DAVID TEBBUTT
Last year, Magistrate Johnstone Munguti found 27 year old Ali Babito Kololo guilty of the murder of David Tebbutt, 58 and the abduction of his wife Judith, 56, who was taken to Somalia and held by pirates before being released after six months.
NO LAWYER – SCOTLAND YARD UNLAWFUL?
Kololo who had no lawyer for most of his trial has since then appealed against the sentence and the case is pending before the Court of Appeal in Malindi. He now has a lawyer, Alfred Olaba, who will be representing him pro bono.
The activists are convinced that the Kenyan man is innocent and was wrongfully linked to the crime and are demanding for the court to set him free on grounds that the involvement of UK authorities was unlawful. Allegedly, the British police from New Scotland Yard illegally cooperated in the investigation and trial leading to the death penalty.
MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE?
According to the British tabloid newspaper The Mail on Sunday, Kenya is likely to execute an innocent man. The paper goes ahead to disclose the following facts surrounding the trial of Kololo;
- According to Mrs Tebbutt, she had never seen Kololo before until the day she was shown his photos after his arrest. She is also reported to have told police she didn’t recognise him when her husband was shot or when she was in captivity.
- Kololo was arrested for being in the vicinity of the Kiwayu Safari Village on grounds that the shoes he was wearing matched footprints at the crime scene but the arresting officer told the court that Kololo was not wearing shoes at all – and he couldn’t fit into those that supposedly matched the prints as they were two sizes too small.
- The trial was held in a language in which he was not fluent, and for almost all of it he had no defence lawyer. He had to cross-examine witnesses including Mrs Tebbutt and Mr Hibberd on his own.
Additionally, most reports had described Kololo as a hotel resort worker but as the Mail on Sunday reveals, he is actually “an illiterate Kenyan woodcutter and gatherer of wild forest honey. “
The conviction is deemed so unsafe, it faces a High Court challenge in London, led by Lord Macdonald, a former Director of Public Prosecutions,” reported the Mail on Sunday.
INVASION OF SOMALIA
It was the murder of Mr Tebbutt and the kidnapping of his wife that sparked Kenya’s invasion of Somalia in October 2011, a move that has seen the Al-Shabaab carry out terror attacks in the country in a retaliatory move.
LAST JUDICIAL HANGING IN KENYA
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 judicial 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.
Related article: Has Scotland Yard sent wrong man to the gallows? Mail On Sunday (UK)
AND it wouldn’t be the first time Scotland Yard have got it wrong in Kenya, see ‘KHRC Report – Let we forget, Troon’s ‘Final Report’ was ‘Fatally flawed‘, 10 Sept. 2011