Kenya rapists jailed after initial light penalty sparked protest




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NAIROBI  – A Kenyan court sentenced three men to 15 years jail on Monday for the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in 2013, after protests erupted when police had initially made the suspects cut grass at their compound as punishment.

The girl, known as “Liz” to protect her identity, raped as she returned from her grandfather’s funeral in western Kenya. She was dumped in an open sewer and suffered back injuries.

The case sparked an international online petition that drew more than 1.7 million signatures from people demanding justice.

Rape is rarely reported in the east African nation due to stigma and lack of faith in the justice system, although there are strong laws against sexual assault.

The three men, whose trial began last year, were convicted by a court in the western county of Busia, prosecutor Jecinta Nyamosi told Reuters by telephone.

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They were sentenced to 15 years for gang rape and seven years for causing grievous harm, to be served concurrently.

“Liz has finally gotten justice and her case will hopefully continue to be a wake-up call for all,” Equality Now, a group which has campaigned on the case, said on its website.

“We must continue to push for safe environments for , where sexual violence is not tolerated and is punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Last year, hundreds of people marched to the office of the head of the police in Nairobi to demand justice. The protesters hung underwear on the gate to his office and held placards saying: “Slashing grass is not a punishment for rape.”

 

* (Reuters)*