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Group slams Kenya police death sentences

Nairobi -

A human rights group on Thursday criticised the death sentences passed against six Kenyan police officers who were convicted of murdering taxi drivers and urged the government to change the country's execution laws.

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Justus Nyang'aya, who heads Amnesty International in Kenya, said the East African nation was not likely to carry out the executions of the convicted officers because it has been abolitionist in practice for three decades.

“We do not support the death penalty, and we also urge the government of Kenya to abolish the death penalty,” he told dpa.

“The last time a death sentence was carried out in Kenya was in relation to the 1982 coup. Otherwise, a lot of judgements that have been passed have been commuted by the president.”

Judge Fred Ochieng sentenced the six officers to death on Wednesday, a day after they were convicted of murdering seven taxi drivers in March 2010 in the Kwangware district of western Nairobi.

The officers had claimed that the drivers were part of the so-called Mungiki gang, a quasi-religious group that is linked to ethnic violence and racketeering as well as running the public transport network of mini-buses. - Sapa-dpa

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