Death penalty elicits sharp debate, Kenyan stakeholders push for removal

Saturday, January 28th, 2023 05:20 | By
Prisoners under lock and key. Photo/PD/FILE
Prisoners. Photo/PD/FILE

Majority of murder and robbery with violence convicts committed the crimes while under the influence of drugs.

A recent survey also shows that Kenyans are split down the middle over the death sentence, with one in every two supporting it.

While key justice stakeholders are pushing for total removal of the death penalty in Kenya, a fraction of Kenyans still support the death penalty for persons convicted of murder and robbery with violence.

The opinion carried out in 2022 indicates that 51 per cent of Kenyans support death rows as a way of punishing the offenders.

Innocent people executed

The co-executive director at Death Penalty project Parvais Jabbar says the earlier study shows the number however dropped to 28 percent when they considered the risk of having innocent people being executed.

Jabbar says the number also reduced to 32 percent if the convict had no prior conviction.

For those who did not support this capital punishment considered the sentence as inhuman. “90 percent of those interviewed in the survey had doubts with the judiciary system in Kenya and that is why they did not majorly support the death penalty in the country,” he said.

While a considerable percentage of Kenyans still support death sentencing, the efforts to completely get rid of the death penalty is gaining momentum among key justice stakeholders.

The latest research Kenya National commission of Human Rights(KNCHR) on prisoners facing death penalty shows the number of these sentenced commuted from death to life imprisonment had gradually increased after the Supreme Court decision with only 72 percent of them still under death row.

There were around 600 during the start of the survey, the number that had grown to more than 1000 death sentences during the release of the report.

The research further revealed that the majority of the prisoners were on hard drugs at the time of committing the crimes with their usage higher than the average usage across the country. The drugs of choice were mostly cannabis, Khat, Cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

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