Charles Mwenda, the man from Meru who grabbed national headlines after police officers denied him a chance to bury his wife has been awarded Ksh1.5 million in compensation.
On May, 27 last year, Mwenda was transporting his wife’s body from Malindi to Meru for burial when his journey was cut short by police officers enforcing lockdown measures.
Despite having all the requisite documents to travel, officers manning Keeria roadblock at the border of Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties ordered the mourners who had accompanied Mwenda to return to Malindi.
They then bundled Mwenda and his wife’s remains into a police van and transported him 60km from Keeria to Kianjai police station.
Mwenda, 32, would then spend the day and night in the cold; when it started raining he covered the casket with a piece of tarp and pulled it under a lorry that had been packed at the station.
The bereaved man would later sue the Meru County Coronavirus surveillance and the State for violating his rights and freedom.
The High Court in Meru ruled that his rights had indeed been violated and ordered the government to pay him Sh1.5 million.
Justice Edward Muriithi directed Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to bear the cost.
“An order is hereby issued that the actions by the police under the national police service headed by the first responded violated the provisions of the Constitution under Articles 3,4,10, 19,25, 28 and 29 and thus infringed on the rights to dignity, protection against torture and cruel, inhuman degrading treatment of the petitioner under the Bill of rights of the constitution of Kenya 2010,” said the Judge.
He added: “The event of being dumped all alone by the roadside in a dark cold and rainy night with a casket bearing the corpse were not only psychologically traumatising and horrific but also exposed the petitioner to physical danger at his most vulnerable time of grieving.
““The respondent’s actions do not reflect a just and democratic society governed by the rule of law. The petitioner has indeed set out a strong case for violation of his constitutional rights.”