, ARUSHA, Tanzania, Mar 16 – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will on Friday deliver judgment in a case where five Kenyans are accusing Tanzanian courts of violating their rights by failing to end their trial on time.
The five are facing murder and armed robbery charges.
The Kenyan citizens allege they were lawfully in Mozambique seeking business opportunities when they were without lawful resort to legal measures or extradition kidnapped on January 16, 2006 and put on a military aeroplane to Tanzania, where they have been incarcerated since and charged with murder and armed robbery.
The judges heard the applicants and the respondent State in May 2015 during its 37th Ordinary Session in Arusha.
A statement from the court says the public hearing will be held at the Kibo Hall at the AfCHPR premises at the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) buildings, Burka area, along Dodoma Road where the judgement will be delivered.
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 to ensure protection of human and people’s rights on the continent.
Through their lawyers, they argue 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.
“Ten years later, their cases are still pending in court, this is a trial that was dragged for the longest time which is against the interest of justice,” said Don Deya, a lawyer from the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) which is representing them pro-bono.
Deya argues in court filings that his clients “have suffered and will continue to suffer in prison unless their case is fast tracked to enable them get justice.”
“It is my prayer that this court declares that the State (Tanzania) has violated their rights for lack of trial within reasonable time and a further declaration that the State has violated their rights for lack of legal representation,” he pleaded Thursday before the court’s Vice President Elsie Thomson who is presiding in the case.
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.
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 deny the suspects were tortured or any of their rights violated.