Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer: Death penalty is fitting punishment for cruellest of killers

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The Independent Online

This was the best judgment we could have hoped for. With this decision, a big lesson has been learnt and a message has been sent out that the people who are killing albinos should be afraid. Now they know the Tanzanian government is serious.

It may be years before any of these men hang but I don't care; while they are waiting, they will stay behind bars.

Some people may be concerned about the death sentence, but I think the judges looked at the crimes and gave a fitting punishment. These men killed this boy in the cruellest way. They and others like them are cutting throats, hacking off body parts and leaving innocent people to bleed to death.

It has taken a long time to get this first verdict. The trial process has not been cheap or easy. Getting so many witnesses to the court, sometimes three or four times, to give testimony, has meant big delays. These cases are expensive, and there have been pauses of up to a month.

But now we have the first judgment, and we are waiting for the next trial to start. There are five more cases coming in the same area, which only goes to show the scale of the problem.

The albino killers have not gone away, and we are not yet safe. Another girl was killed only last month.

One of the missionary schools in Moshi, near Kilimanjaro, which has a lot of albino children, is facing constant threats. The sisters say they cannot sleep at night because there are albino hunters trying to get into the school. There is now heavy security there, but just last week people tried to break in during the night.

However, this crisis is at last being taken seriously. Tanzania's President, Jakaya Kikwete, and the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, are furious at what's been happening. The time that people could get away with murdering albinos is over.

Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer became Tanzania's first albino MP last year. She has campaigned against the targeting of the minority and has adopted several albino children