Let acquitted ex-soldiers go, Mombasa High Court orders

The High Court in Mombasa has ordered its deputy registrar to prepare release documents for 25 former soldiers who remain detained at Shimo la Tewa Prison despite being freed after life terms imposed on them were overturned.

They had been sentenced by three military courts last year for alleged desertion.

The former soldiers remained in jail because the registrar had not served prison authorities with release documents and yesterday their lawyers returned to the High Court for orders to compel the signing of the documents.

Last evening there was optimism they would be freed after relatives told The Standard the release papers had finally been signed.

High Court Judge Martin Muya made this order yesterday after lawyer Gikandi Ngibuini went to court.

Lawyer Daniel Kamunda, also for the soldiers, complained the soldiers had to spend two more days at the prison through no fault of their own. “The deputy registrar did not sign the release orders by the time the court was closing at 4.30pm,” said Mr Kamunda.

Among the soldiers freed is senior officer Lt Jeffery Pepela, who was sentenced to life and yet the charge he faced carried a maximum of two years in jail.

Kamunda described the Court Martial’s decision to jail his clients for life as a miscarriage of justice.

The other lawyers were Michael Mwanyale and Jared Magolo.

Last Friday Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alex Muteti made a spirited fight against the soldiers’ release saying he wanted a stay of 14 days to enable him challenge the court’s decision.

But Justice Muya rejected the application to stay the acquittal orders saying the application had no merit.

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mombasa high courtex-soldierslife sentenceShimo la Tewa Prison