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Two sentenced to death for killing police officers

Two men suspected to be members of the Mombasa Republican Council were on Friday sentenced to death for the murdering the Changamwe police boss and three officers on the eve of the 2013 General Election.

Sentencing Mr Jabir Ali Dzuya and Mr Bwanamkuu Alwan, Justice Martin Muya said he was satisfied the prosecution had proved its case that the two murdered Senior Superintendent Otieno Owouri, Corporal Salim Chebii and Constables Stephen Maithya and Andrew Songwa.

The sentence comes barely a week after the Court of Appeal upheld a decision to lift the ban on the secessionist group.

“The evidence irresistibly points to their guilt,” said Justice Muya.

The judge noted that attacks against the police who were overseeing the election were meant to stop residents from voting.

He said any organisation whose members brutally murder police officers in quest of its ideals cannot pretend to be legitimate.

BRUTAL ATTACK

“The attack on the officers was brutal and senseless. The offence of murder carries a mandatory death sentence which I find the accused deserve,” said Justice Muya.

Prior to the sentencing, Principal Prosecuting Counsel Jami Yamina told the court to treat the accused as first time offenders as they had no criminal records.

He, however, urged the court to sentence them to death, saying this was the only punishment prescribed by law. In mitigation, Dzuya and Alwan asked for leniency, saying their families depended on them.

The murders were committed on March 3, 2013 at Jomvu in  Miritini, Mombasa County.

Justice Muya acquitted Mr Badi Said Kasim and Omar Salim Juma, who had been charged alongside the two, saying the prosecution had not proved its case against them.

BAN ON MRC

He said none of the prosecution witnesses saw and identified them and the evidence before the court was circumstantial.

An application by the prosecution for the court reconsider part of the judgment acquitting Mr Kasim and Mr Juma to enable him to appeal was rejected.

This week, the Court of Appeal ruled that the ban imposed on the MRC six years ago was improperly effected though the group was considered a threat to national security.

The five-judge bench dismissed the State’s appeal against a 2012 Mombasa High Court decision setting aside a 2010 ban.

They also ruled that a government cannot use force to shut down an agenda for secession and therefore the ban failed the test of an Executive decision taken in the name of national security.