Githurai 44 matatu crew sentenced to death for sexual assault

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – Three men accused of violently robbing, stripping and sexually assaulting a female passenger three years ago at a petrol station in Githurai 44 have been sentenced to death.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi directed Edward Gitau, Nicholas Mwangi and Meshak Mwangi to face death for the offence which he described as most heinous.

The incident was captured on a video that was widely circulated on social media prompting the Director of Public Prosecutions to act.

The court handed the matatu driver, his conductor and a pump attendant at Millennium Petrol Station the sentence, saying the prosecution had proven the case against the accused persons beyond any reasonable doubt.

For the offense of sexually assaulting the woman, the court ordered the convicts to serve a jail term of 25 years each but this will remain in abeyance if they are hanged.

The death sentence in Kenya has since been commuted to life sentence, meaning that they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

While handing the sentences, Magistrate Andayi said it is important to respect all human beings “because we are equal but it is equally important to respect the dignity of a woman.”

He said that what started as a joke by spanking the woman “led them to commit a serious offense.”

“This is what many uncultured men do out there,” he said.

In mitigation, the men pleaded for leniency considering that they had spent three years in custody pending trial.

Meshak, the pump attendant implored the court to have mercy on him saying he is a family man, a father of two and the sole bread winner.

But the court noting that the offense was most wicked, with the three having the single intention to humiliate the complainant and enjoyed doing it, “the court is bound by the law to grant them the sentences.”

They had denied that on the night of September 19 and 20 2014 at Millennium Petrol Station in Githurai 44 jointly with others not before the court they robbed the complainant of a mobile phone and other valuables worth Sh47,300.

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