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Ailing death row inmate gets 40 years instead of freedom

By Willis Oketch | April 12th 2020

An ailing inmate who was convicted for murder in 2007 and has been in prison since then has been jailed by the High Court in Mombasa for 40 years from the date of arrest. 

Peter Mote Obero has been in jail since April 13, 2002 when he was arrested for murder. He was sentenced to hang in May 2007 and his plea to be freed collapsed on Thursday. He is now being held at Shimo la Tewa Prison in Mombasa. 

The petitioner had submitted that he suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.

Obero is among thousands of death row or former death row inmates who had petitioned the High Court to redress their sentences after the Supreme Court determined in December 2017 that the law by which they were prosecuted and convicted was, partially unconstitutional.

Death penalty

The Supreme Court had determined then that Section 204 of the Penal Code under which capital crime suspects were tried and convicted was unconstitutional for prescribing the mandatory death penalty for capital crimes.

The inmate was convicted for the murder of John Kamau Mukuhu. He was charged with shooting his victim with a gun inside his car and sentenced to hang in May 2007. His co-accused, Gideon Kamau Mburu, was acquitted.

Obero appealed the conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal and lost. Later, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment through a presidential decree. He accused the State of contravening his right by continuing to detain him in prison which he argued violates his dignity and right to have respect. 

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