Families re-united with their four sons who had been serving life sentences in South Sudan

One four Kenyans who had been jailed for life in South Sudan greets a relative on December 07, 2017. (Photo: Courtesy)
Joyous families were re-united on Thursday with their four sons who had been serving life sentences in South Sudan, more than 18 hours after they touched down in Nairobi.

It was not immediately clear why the Kenyan government had denied them freedom to go home after the plane they travelled in arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Instead, they were driven in unmarked cars to an out of town hotel near the National Intelligence Services Headquarters off Thika Road where they spent the night.

State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu and Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma held a brief handover ceremony after lunch with the families and the four men.

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“They were granted pardon by the South Sudan President,” Ms Juma said, adding that Kenya had been lobbying for their release.

Medical examination

She said the four had undergone medical examination and found to be in good health.

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But the negotiations were within the applicable laws, she said, adding that the four men had been tried and sentenced fairly before the parole was granted.

“It has been a very long journey to get here and it is very unfortunate that we fell into this,” said Ravi Ghaghda who spoke on behalf of the four.

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He disclosed that a “huge” delegation from Kenya had visited South Sudan President Salva Kiir for negotiations that culminated in the parole.

His sister, Tejal, has been at the forefront in calling for the intervention of the State to have them released all the while maintaining they were innocent.

Ben Munyalo said the family has been praying for the return of his elder brother Antony Keya over the years, hoping that justice would be done and the four Kenyans allowed to return home.

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