, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 19 – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) wants the Tanzanian local courts to expedite the trial of five Kenyans facing murder and armed robbery charges after ruling that their fundamental rights have been violated.
In a ruling delivered on Friday, the nine judges at the human rights court stated that the length of the trials have violated the rights of the Kenyans and ‘every effort should be taken to hasten it’.
It further declared that the State violated the rights of the accused persons had been violated by failing to offer them legal representation and ruled that this should be remedied by providing them with lawyers.
“The court unanimously holds that there has been a violation of Article 7 (1) (c) and (d) of the charter by the Respondent. The respondent should provide legal aid to the Applicants for the proceedings pending against them in the domestic courts,” the ruling stated.
It further ordered for a report, within six months, on the measures taken to hasten the case.
“The court unanimously orders that the respondents take all the necessary measures within a reasonable time to expedite and finalise all criminal appeals by or against the applicants in the domestic courts.”
The Kenyan citizens allege that they were lawfully in Mozambique seeking business opportunities when they were without lawful resort to legal measures or extradition kidnapped in 2006 and put on a military airplane to Tanzania.
The accused were convicted of the charges they faced but filed appeals which have not been exhausted.
They resorted to seek justice at the AfCHPR, a continental court established in 2006 by African countries and based in Arusha, to ensure protection of human and people’s rights on the continent.
Through their lawyers, they argued that there was no extradition proceedings commenced against them before they were transferred in the military plane to Arusha where they were allegedly beaten up and tortured by Tanzanian police before they were charged.
In total, 10 suspects were arrested in Mozambique but three have since been acquitted for lack of evidence while two others died in jail, amid their quest for justice but the case is still listed for the ten of them as “Wilfred Onyango Nganyi and nine others verses the United Republic of Tanzania.”
They denied all the charges facing them, terming them a fabrication while insisting that they were in Mozambique on a business trip.
Tanzanian authorities however, insist they are dangerous criminals who had terrorized residents there and lined up witnesses to disprove their claims.
Tanzanian authorities also deny that the suspects were tortured or any of their rights violated.