Nairobi, 17 May 2023 –Amnesty International Kenya notes with concern that across the world, more men and women were executed in 2022 than in each of the last five years. We commend Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, and the Central African Republic for ending the death penalty for all crimes. In addition, we salute Equatorial Guinea and Zambia for abolishing the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
While no person was executed in Kenya in 2022, 79 men and one woman were sentenced to death in Kenya, increasing the number of death row prisoners to 656. It is noteworthy that Government of Kenya exonerated twenty people’s sentences and commuted death sentences against ten persons.
The use of the death penalty in Kenya by state prosecutors and judicial officers continues to violate the core principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. These principles emphasise human life. Moreover, Articles 25 and 29 of the Kenyan Constitution enshrines freedom from torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, and punishment.
Criminal justice systems wrongly convict many people, and the death penalty extinguishes any possibility of review and exoneration. Despite Kenya’s de facto moratorium on the death penalty since 1987, death row convicts continue to face psychological and physical anguish, further violating their right to protection from torture, which is inherent to all people despite their crimes. Recent Kenya National Commission on Human Rights studies demonstrate public opinion has moved against the death penalty and death sentencing is an ineffective deterrence against criminal behaviour.
We recognise the efforts of the office of the Attorney General, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Courts and Civil Society Organisations for the continued progress regarding the death penalty since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution. Public interest litigation, case reviews, exonerations and commutations are significant signs of progress towards protecting the right to life.
Amnesty International Kenya calls upon the Attorney General and Parliament to initiate a review process to abolish the death penalty in line with global human rights trends. We reiterate our call on the Kenyan State to set up swift, transparent, and fair procedures for commuting existing death sentences.
Amnesty International Kenya pledges to continue campaigning against the death penalty.
Amnesty International Kenya Section Executive Director
For more information, contact Mathias T. Kinyoda at 0786725434 Email: [email protected]