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Man in court to block ‘anti-customary’ cremation

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – A man claiming to be the brother of Nairobi dentist Dr Joseph William Owino Radol, who died last week, wants the High Court to declare that cremating his body is contrary to the Luo customary law.


John Oleng Omondi, and Charles Opondo Apuko who claims to be the nephew of the deceased, want the High Court to restrain the widow Svetlana Radol from cremating the body, which is lying at the Lee Funeral Home.


According to the two men, the decision to cremate the body of the deceased is contrary to the family’s wishes and Luo traditions.


The widow on the other hand wants her late husband cremated, saying it was always his desire to enable her cope with the loss.


Her two daughters, aged 37 and 40, also expressed their late father’s wishes, which they say should be respected.

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“I have more right to my husband’s remains than impostors who claim to be related to my husband on his death,” Svetlana told the court.


“I believe there is nothing unlawful, wrongful or illegal about cremation of my husband’s remains as per his wishes,” she states in her response.


She goes on to say that as a family they have used a lot of resources in treating her husband, who succumbed to injuries following a road accident in 2009, and costs continue to accrue daily at the funeral home.


Svetlana says Omondi and Apuko are not a brother and nephew to the deceased as they have alleged, and are not known to the family members.


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Justice Rose Ougo, who heard the parties on Friday when the matter came up for mention, directed the two men to deposit in court mortuary fees for one month in the court by Monday, failure to which the orders they temporarily obtained to block the cremation will be discharged.


The cremation, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, was cancelled after Omondi handed Radol’s family the court orders on Monday evening.


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