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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,20TH JULY 2018-Amnesty International-Kenya says the death sentence given to former miss Langata prison beauty queen Ruth Kamande on Thursday for killing her boyfriend three years ago was retrogressive.The 24 years old lady had alreday served 2 years in prison by the time she was sentenced to death.
In a statement to the press following the sentencing of Ruth Kamande on Thursday, the agency’s Executive Director, Irungu Houghton termed the ruling by Lady Justice Jessie Lesiit as retrogressive to Kenya’s record of commuting death sentences to life imprisonment.
“We are concerned that Kenya continues to use this cruel, inhumane and outdated mode of punishment. This sentence is a blow to Kenya’s progressive record in commuting death sentences to terms of imprisonment,” he said.
Amnesty International called for the immediate commuting of Kamande’s death sentence to life imprisonment so that she could be rehabilitated.
“There isn’t any credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime any better than other lawful punishments,” Houghton said.
While sentencing Kamande, a former Lang’ata Women’s Prison beauty queen, Lady Justice Lesiit said her court had exercised judicial discretion noting that despite the death penalty having been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in December last year, it remained enshrined in statutes.
“In my view, the discretion to pass a sentence other than death in capital offences should only be exercised in deserving cases. I do not find this a deserving case and I think passing any other sentence than the one prescribed would turn the accused into a hero,” the judge said during Kamande’s sentencing on Thursday.
“I want young people to know that it is not cool to kill your boyfriend or girlfriend even where you feel disappointed or frustrated – don’t do it. Instead, it is cool to walk away and thereafter to forgive,” Lady Justice Lesiit outlined.
The judge said Kamande showed no remorse for stabbing her boyfriend Farid Mohammed twenty-five times hence the harsh penalty despite a plea for leniency by her lawyer.
“Even though the police say they had inadvertently lost the pictures of the scene, the evidence of those who went there created a vivid picture of how it looked after the incident – they said that there was blood all over,” the judge observed in her ruling.
Justice Lesiit also declined a request by Kamande’s lawyers for leniency on the basis that the accused person had successfully applied to join the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology for further studies saying the ex-beauty queen was free to enlist for courses within the prisons system.
The judge observed that the accused had shown manipulative behaviour as she had on many occasions secretly accessed Mohammed’s phone.