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Uhuru asked to intervene in Ruth Kamande’s life sentence

Unfair ruling?

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In criminal law, commute means the reduction of a sentence for a criminal act by the action of the executive head of the government.

Amnesty International-Kenya faulted the ruling delivered by High Court judge Jessie Lesiit after Kamande was found guilty of murdering her boyfriend, Farid Mohammed.

The human rights group described the sentence as cruel and inhumane adding that it was retrogressive.

“We are concerned that Kenya continues to use this cruel, inhumane and outdated mode of punishment. This sentence is a blow to Kenya’s progressive record in commuting death sentences to terms of imprisonment," the statement by Executive Director Irungu Houghton said.

Mr Houghton noted that Kamande can reform through rehalbilitation.

"There are considerations in Ruth Kamande's case. She was young, extremely disturbed by the fear and anger of being infected by HIV/AIDS.

"She has since demonstrated a willingness to reform while in custody. While justice must be done, the is not one of them," he said.

On Thursday, Justice Lesiit ruled that Kamande's actions proved malice, therefore, warranting the death sentence prescribed for the capital offence of murder.

The judge insisted that Kamande's case needed to serve as an example to young people who may be involved in bad relationships.

"I want the youth to know it is not cool to kill your boyfriends or girlfriends. Instead, it is cool to walk away and forget," Judge Lessit said in her ruling.

In September 2015, Kamande stabbed her lover, Mohammed, 25 times leading to his death. She defended herself stating that she killed Farid in the process of self-defense claiming that the deceased was trying to kill her after she discovered his HIV status as positive.

"Farid told me that he would rather kill me and himself than have his status exposed. l stabbed him severally using a kitchen knife, which fell on my chest from his hands after I overpowered him after putting my two thumbs in his eyes to save my life," she told the court.

While handing Kamande the life sentence, judge Lesiit said that the 24-year-old had not showed any remorse.

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