, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 – The Supreme Court will on Thursday decide on the fate of death row convicts when it rules on whether sentencing them to death is constitutional or not.
The ruling will come following the hearing of a case filed by two convicts Francis Karioko and Wilson Thirimbu who contended that hanging offenders is cruel and inhuman.
The two, sentenced by the High Court for murder, hope the Supreme Court will finally abolish the mandatory sentence.
In their argument, they said no court would have independently handed them the penalty, which they said Kenya borrowed from her colonial master, Britain, before it was adopted by Parliament.
The court has the option of commuting death sentences for those who had previously been found guilty of capital offenses to life terms or it could order all those in death row to be released.
Britain introduced capital punishment in Kenyan during the colonial era and Kenya went on to retain it even after independence.
“We were convicted by the High Court on a charge of murder and, by the operation of Section 204 of the Penal Code, the sole applicable sentence was the death sentence. The sentence was not a judicial evaluation, but rather a predetermined penalty in a municipal statute,” reads papers the two have filed.
Muruatetu and Thirimbu were convicted, alongside five others, over the death of Lawrence Githinji Magondu 16 years ago.
They appealed the High Court decision but lost in the Court of Appeal.
MPs have not been clear on what they think of the sentence.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko, in the Muruatetu-Thirimbu appeal, said Kenya should do away with the mandatory death sentence.
In 2012, Jackson Maina and Joseph Kirero Sepi asked High Court judges Mbogholi Msagha, Florence Muchemi, Mumbi Ngugi and Isaac Lenaola for their interpretation on whether hanging a person is against the law.
Kenya has not executed any convict since 1987.