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Sarah Wairimu sets conditions that must be met before the burial of Tob Cohen

19, Sep 2019

Slain Dutch national Tob Cohen will be buried on Monday September 23 at Jewish Cemetry on Wangari Mathai Road, Nairobi. This will be subject to a court order that the family intends to seek today (Friday). The family of Cohen agreed to have the event be conducted in accordance with the Jewish rites and announced it will be private and for the family members only. Lawyers representing Cohen’s sister Gabriele and widow Sarah Wairimu met and agreed to move to court today to seek orders to allow the event go on as planned. Lawyers Cliff Ombeta for Gabriele and Philip Murgor for Wairimu addressed a press conference to announce only family members will be allowed to the event. They said they would seek the court order to allow Wairimu attend the ceremony to start at 2pm. “He was a Jewish and the they have their own rites that need to be respected. We intend to ask the courts to allow the widow to be allowed to give her respect to her husband at the event,” said Murgor. Ombeta said the Jewish don’t cremate or use coffins for the burial and added they have their rites. He asked the Director of Public Prosecution and Directorate of Criminal Investigations and prisons to facilitate the compromise arrangements to enable Cohen get a dignified burial. The move to have a compromise agreement was occasioned by different moves by both Wairimu and Gabriele who wanted to bury the body. The lawyers said the Jewish tradition require one to be buried 48 hours after death. They added it would waste resources if the parties involved disagreed on the way forward after the postmortem was conducted and the body freed for interment. “We felt there is no need to argue over this issue and hence have agreed to conduct the event jointly. The rest will follow,” said Ombeta. Wairimu had on Wednesday told mortuary attendants to preserve the body of the husband for her to bury. She wrote to the management of the Chiromo Mortuary and asked them not to release Cohen’s body to anyone else for burial after it emerged Gabriele had indicated she wanted the body for interment. She undertook to pay for preservation charges of the body. “We have been instructed to object to the release of the remains of Tob Cohen to Gabriele Cohen for whatever purpose,” Ms Wairimu’s lawyer said. She demanded that the remains should not be released to Cohen’s sister, as she has no legal authority or mandate to take it let alone for burial. “We expect that the Kenyan authorities to enforce her legal rights. It is not our client who must get a court to bury her husband. To the contrary, it is the sister who does not live in Kenya who must get a court order.” She added she was aware of wishes of her husband and none of which includes being buried within shortest time possible. “We therefore demand that the burial permit be issued to no one else but herself or ourselves on her behalf. In the meantime, our client undertakes to pay for the preservation charges of the body,” Murgor said in his letter. The letter was copied to DCI George Kinoti and DPP Noordin Haji. This prompted the need for talks and compromise to allow the interment. The matter of the body and when it should be buried and by whom emerged during a meeting at the mortuary attended by various parties including Ms Wairimu.