6,000 convicts awaiting death in Kenya

When Kirugumi wa Wanjuki (the last man to be hanged in Kenya) died in 2009, he left behind over 4,000 death row inmates waiting to be executed.

Later that year, condemned prisoners breathed a collective sigh of relief when President Mwai Kibaki commuted all death sentences to life imprisonment.

Five years down the line, Kenyan courts have sentenced close to 2,000 more suspects to death.

“The numbers sentenced to death are so high that it’s now a catastrophe to have so many people waiting to be hanged,” says Dennis Kiio, programmes manager with the Legal Resources Foundation, an organisation dedicated to criminal cases. With 6,000 death row convicts, Kenya has the fourth largest death row population in the world.

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In the last five years alone, Kenyan courts have sentenced 1,620 prisoners to death. This is more than half the total death row population in the US, a country where execution is still practiced in some states.

The US has 3,088 death row inmates. According to Amnesty International’s Death Sentences and Executions 2013 report, about 1,952 people were  sentenced to death in 57 countries last year.

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