Kenya commutes sentences of all death row inmates

President Uhuru Kenyatta spared the lives of 2,655 male and 92 female inmates

Matt Payton
Tuesday 25 October 2016 09:07 BST
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses a news conference in Mogadishu in Somalia
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses a news conference in Mogadishu in Somalia

Kenya's President has commuted the sentences of all the country's death row inmates to life imprisonment.

Thousands of prisoners condemned to death have been spared their lives although Kenya very rarely carries the sentences out - the last execution taking place in 1987.

At the stroke of a pen, President Uhuru Kenyatta commuted the sentences of 2,655 male and 92 female death row inmates.

In 2009, then President Mwai Kibaki commuted the sentence of 4,000 prisoners then residing on death row.

Critics have labelled the latest mass reprieve as an attempt by Mr Kenyatta to appear compassionate in the upcoming election.

Amnesty International praised the move despite previously condemning the Kenyan government's treatment of protesters in May.

The charity's director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Muthoni Wanyeki said: "The decision to commute death sentences brings Kenya closer to the growing community of nations that have abolished this cruel and inhuman form of punishment."

"It must now be abolished for posterity."

Nearly two thirds of all countries have abolished the death penalty, with the remaining third facing pressure to discontinue capital punishment.

China executed the most people last year estimated at more than 1,000 followed by Iran with 977 executions.

Pakistan was in third place, with 326, Saudi Arabia fourth, with 158 executions, and the US at number five, with 28.

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