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Depression killed my son in Ethiopia, says father

A sombre mood engulfed Lutheran Church along Uhuru Highway during a requiem mass for a Kenyan IT specialist who died in Ethiopia.

The deceased, Mr Zakayo Muriuki Gatimu, 37, an information technology consultant, died on December 10, this year, a prisoner of Kalit Prison in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa where he had been held since January 10, 2015.

In his eulogy, his father — Emannuel Gatimu — narrated how he watched his son lose hope of freedom in a foreign country and die of depression due to poor judicial system there.

Mr Gatimu told mourners that his son was arrested in Jijiga, but his case kept being postponed severally each time with a different excuse.

“After waiting for his case to be finalised after numerous failed efforts to bring him home, he slipped into depression early November,” said Mr Gatimu.

He said that in August last year, a court had ruled that his son was innocent only for the same court to request for three months to have the ruling typed as they were going on holiday.

He said his son waited in prison telling his other inmates that he would soon be a free man as a ruling had been made that he had committed no offence.

However, on the last hearing on October 27, this year, the case was pushed to January 4, next year on the basis that his co-accused was not available in court for hearing of the case.

This development, he said, was what led his son to fall into depression. Inmates, he said, told him that his son had even stopped eating, he had stopped going out of the cell to bask and that he used to complain of acute headache.

The inmates, as he went to the prison to clear to collect the remains of his son, told him that the authorities only took him to the prison’s health centre where he was admitted for two weeks.

He said he flew to be with his so when he was informed that he had been transferred to St Paul’s Government Hospital after his conditioned deteriorated.

According to Mr Gatimu, he found he only talked with his son for two days at the hospital and that he used to feed him through pipes. Two weeks later, he told the mourners, his son was taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) where he died.

His son, he said, developed anaemia, meningitis and later his kidneys failed.

The deceased had not worked in Ethiopia as he was arrested after he just landed in the country on January 9, 2015.

He leaves behind a wife Maurine Njeri and a daughter Martha Brown Muriuki.

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