Kenyan dissident escapes gallows

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The Independent Online
Kenyan dissident escapes gallows

Nakuru - Kenya's leading dissident, Koigi wa Wamwere, pictured in court in 1993 when originally charged, was jailed for four years but was spared the gallows after a capital charge that he mounted an armed raid on a police station was dropped.

Chief Magistrate William Tuiyot's sentencing perplexed many lawyers but relieved Mr Wamwere's supporters, who had feared he would be given the mandatory death penalty. "The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the three accused committed the crime," said Mr Tuiyot. "I find the first, second and fourth accused guilty of simple robbery." But the three were not charged with "simple robbery" and defence lawyers applied for written copies of the judgment, saying they intended to appeal against the verdict. Mr Wamwere is a founder member of the Safina (Noah's Ark) Party, formed last May, though he has been in prison for the past two years. Reuter