Kenya‘s Supreme Court on Monday found four police officers guilty of the manslaughter of Alexander Monson, the son of a British aristocrat who was found dead in a police cell in the beach town of Diani in 2012.
Judge Eric Ogola announced the verdicts in the coastal city of Mombasa at the end of a high profile case that has put police brutality in the spotlight in the East African country. “I am grateful that justice has been done to my late son after such a long wait,” said Hilary Monson, the victim’s mother, in court, fighting back tears.
“This should send a strong signal to the Kenyan police to have respect for human life.” The four policemen are Naftali Chege, Charles Wangombe Munyiri, Baraka Buluma and John Pamba. The four of them hung their heads after the verdict was announced, while one wept softly.
Chege was sentenced to 15 years in prison, five of which were suspended. Munyiri was sentenced to twelve years in prison, six of which were suspended. Buluma was sentenced to nine years, five of which were suspended, and Pamba to 12 years, six of which were suspended. The 28-year-old Monson was found dead after smoking cannabis one night in Diani, near Mombasa on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, according to police.
“The drugs were implanted to cover up the deceased after his death,” Ogola said, adding that Monson was in excellent health and was “brutally tortured” there prior to arriving at the ward. “I am convinced that the death of the deceased was caused by the defendants’ unlawful omission because they did not receive medical care in time,” said Ogola.
Monson was the son of Nicholas, the 12th Baron Monson, and heir to a family estate in Lincolnshire, east England. The elder Monson was also in the courtroom and slowly nodded as the verdicts were delivered. Two reports from government pathologists https://www.reuters.com/places/africa/article/us-kenya-court/kenyan-police-on-trial-over-killing-of-british-aristocrats-son-idUSKCN1PG1XA, seen by Reuters to conclude that Monson had died after a traumatic blow to the head. An investigation found that there had been attempts to cover up the incident and threaten witnesses.
The Kenyan police are frequently accused of brutality and extrajudicial killings of civilians and human rights groups, but officials are rarely charged and almost never convicted. The independent police oversight agency was established in 2011 to investigate police misconduct and has received millions in foreign funds. Kenyans have filed thousands of complaints against the police since its inception, but the organization has only achieved 13 convictions against officials.
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