A Nairobi court has sentenced a former senior police officer to death for the murder of a suspect in his custody, according to a report on Friday.
On Thursday, the High Court found former Ruaraka Police Station boss Nahashon Mutua guilty of murdering Martin Koome in 2013. The death sentence verdict is the severest penalty handed down over widespread police brutality, the East African reported.
Following a domestic brawl in his home in a suburb in the capital, Nairobi, in 2013, Koome was arrested and taken into custody.
According to the evidence before the court, Koome was assaulted with a metal pipe before his head was immersed in a drum of water. He was rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital but died hours later.
Police brutality has long been a complaint of Kenyan activists but police were mostly able to get away with their violence until a police oversight authority was set up in 2011 to investigate allegations and end impunity after hundreds of people were killed by police during post-election unrest in 2007.
The police also tried to cover up Koome’s death, asserting another man, Kelvin Odhiambo, was responsible and laying charges against him.
However, a complaint filed with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) revealed that the initial charge had been an attempt to save Mutua’s skin.
Odhiambo’s case was then terminated by the director of public prosecutions about nine months later and Mutua was charged with the murder.
Mutua then tried to interfere with investigations by intimidating and coercing witnesses who had recorded statements with Ipoa.
He was subsequently also accused of giving a misleading crime and incident report that Koome had been assaulted by Odhiambo.
High Court Judge Martha Mutuku said in her brief ruling: “The evidence against Nahashon Mutua is overwhelming. The deceased suffered a lot of pain when he was assaulted by the officers.
“This court has no other option but to sentence him to death since he is the one who committed the crime.”
Mutua has 14 days to appeal against the conviction.
– African News Agency