HomeNewsHere is What a Death Sentence Penalty Means in Kenya

Here is What a Death Sentence Penalty Means in Kenya

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A “death sentence” typically refers to a legal penalty imposed by a court of law, usually for the most serious crimes, such as murder or treason, where the convicted individual is sentenced to death. This punishment is carried out through various means depending on the jurisdiction, which may include methods such as lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, or firing squad. However, this is not what it means, or rather applies, in Kenya when one’s is issued a death sentence.

In December 2017, a significant decision by the Supreme Court deemed the compulsory imposition of the death penalty unconstitutional, prompting the establishment of the Taskforce on the Review of the Mandatory Death Sentence.

Kenya’s Constitution guarantees the right to life for all individuals, except those convicted of serious crimes like treason, murder, or violent robbery. Despite being part of the legal framework, executions haven’t occurred since 1987, when individuals involved in a coup attempt were executed for treason.

Presidents Mwai Kibaki in 2009 and Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016 commuted all death sentences to life imprisonment, effectively converting them to life imprisonment, which in Kenya means incarceration until death without the possibility of early release, unlike other offenders. 

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