ATHLETICS

Kenyan athlete imprisoned in Mexico, family seek help

Barsitei has been detained in Cereso Cieneguillas jail since March 2021

Rerimoi Barsitei was arrested in March 2021 over alleged kidnapping and imprisoned at Cereso Cieneguillas jail in Zacatecas

The family of athlete, Rerimoi Barsitei detained in Mexico over alleged kidnapping have pleaded with Mexican officials to show mercy and release him, saying in a statement that they were desperate for him to return home.

Barsitei's father, Sammy Chesang told Nation Sport that his son travelled to the Central American country in 2015 in search of greener pastures. From the onset everything was going according to plan especially in 2019 when he dominated the El Siglo half marathon, winning at a time of 01:09:27.

However, in March 2021, everything changed for Barsitei and his family. According to his father, his son one day messaged him through social media platform Facebook informing him that he and his friends of Mexican descent had been arrested and were in police custody.

"My son told me that he had left his house under the care of his Mexican friend and went for a race and upon his return, was arrested and taken to a police station. It is only then that he learnt that his friends had been involved in a kidnapping saga while he was away," said Chesang.

Barsitei is currently in Cereso Cieneguillas jail in Zacatecas, where his father claims, the authorities are yet to bring forward any charges against him. The Cieneguillas prison is a medium-security center.

During the 2010s, inmates linked with various cartels, including Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel, and the Sinaloa Cartel, were added to the prison. The prison became dangerous and failed several assessments due to the introduction of the cartel inmates, with the last assessment deeming it to have a lack of governance and an undermined security.

"I have been in touch with my son throughout on Facebook and he has been updating me on what is going on. It is so sad that nothing has been done because Mexican authorities keep on postponing hearing of the case," said Chesang.

The family who are now on the verge of losing hope, state they have sought assistance from government officials to no avail. They are now pleading with President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.

“I would like to ask our President Uhuru Kenyatta to listen to me as a mother and intervene and bring back our son. He used to help us and even pay for his siblings’ school fees, but now we are stranded,” stated his mother, Esther Cherotich.

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