Three teenagers, who had been charged with assaulting and raping a standard seven pupil in Busia County in 2013, were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on Tuesday.
The victim, who was nicknamed Liz in order to protect her identity, was beaten and gang-raped by six men on her way home from her grandfather’s funeral at Tingolo village in Busia County and dumped in a pit latrine on June 26 2013. She survived the ordeal but is now wheelchair bound with a broken spine and has the worst case of fistula as a result of the rape.
Liz was able to identify at least three of the rapists out of a line up but the culprits were only asked to cut grass at the police station and then set free!!! Justice indeed!
HOPE FOR JUSTICE FOR LIZ
The incident had subsequently sparked a public outcry both locally and internationally, with over 1.6 million people signing a petition demanding #JusticeForLiz, which compelled the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to order an investigation into the handling of the case.
In April last year, the DPP Keriako Tobiko changed the charge sheets during the second hearing of the case to charge the culprits with gang rape. The charge sheet of the only suspect who had then been arrested never reflected rape or other crimes of sexual violence under the Sexual Offenses Act and the culprit was only facing charges of “causing grievous harm”.
Although the remaining suspects remain at large, Busia chief magistrate Margaret Wambani found the accused guilty of two counts; gang rape and causing grievous harm. She ordered the accused to remain in remand until their appeal was hard and determined.
DPP ROOTS FOR STIFFER SENTENCE
Keriako has through a statement yesterday maintained that although the verdict rendered justice to Liz to some extent, its lenient and does not reflect the gravity under which the offences were committed. He said that he will apply for its enhancement and expressed his disappointment with the police for failure to arrest the remaining suspects.
“As the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, we feel that the sentence imposed is inordinately lenient and fails to adequately reflect the nature and gravity of the horrific circumstances under which the offences were committed,” reads part of the statement.