Kenyan court sentences ex-police officer to death over detainee killing

An ex-senior Kenyan police officer has been sentenced to death for the killing of a suspect taken into custody in 2013, in a landmark case that activists say would help curb police killings.

Nahashon Mutua was found guilty of the murder of Martin Koome, who was found dead in a cell at a Nairobi police station where Mutua was in charge.

Delivering her verdict, Judge Stella Mutuku said the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Mutua “caused the deceased suffering while in cells which caused his death”.

Last December, a court in Nairobi convicted Mr. Mutua of murder, saying the former senior policeman “misused his powers of authority and flouted the law so as to cover up the case”.

Mr. Mutua’s defence argued that Koome was fatally beaten by other inmates at Nairobi’s Ruaraka police cells.

The country’s Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) led the investigation that brought charges against Mutua. “This is a wake-up call to other police officers to perform their duties within the law…, IPOA spokesman Dennis Oketch said.

The deceased had been arrested over domestic brawl at his home in Nairobi but later died after being tortured while in a police cell in December 2013, the court said.