Court Allows Detention of US Fugitive Kevin Kang’ethe at Maximum Security Prison

February 15, 2024

Pending extradition to the US for the murder of his girlfriend in Boston, Kevin Kang’ethe will be remanded at Industrial Area Prison in Nairobi.

Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina, sitting at the Milimani Law Courts in the Kenyan Capital, approved the DPP’s application to remand the fugitive at the maximum-security prison, citing the lack of an explanation for the circumstances under which he escaped from police custody.

The DPP urged Magistrate Onyina to consider the fact that the suspect had escaped from Muthaiga Police Station last week.

Vincent Monda, leading the prosecution team, cited Kang’ethe’s character, emphasizing that the remand prison is safer compared to police custody for keeping the respondent pending the extradition proceedings.

Kang’ethe’s Entitlement to Fundamental Rights

Monda also emphasized that the DPP is aware of Kang’ethe’s entitlement to fundamental and constitutional rights, including legal and health access. He urged the court to direct that, while the respondent is in custody, he be allowed to be visited by his relatives, lawyers, and a government doctor if the need arises.

The DPP further sought orders to identify the lawyers who will be permitted to access the suspect while in prison custody, regardless of their number. He also requested that visitations to Kang’ethe by either relatives or his lawyers be accompanied by the lead investigating officer, Patrick Wachira.

“The presence of the investigating officer does not amount to the violation of one’s rights to privacy, but is to ensure the visitations are monitored by the security detectives to avoid a repeat of unlawful escape,” the DPP explained.

Defense Lawyers’ Argument

However, defense lawyers Antony Kago and David Muthama opposed the DPP’s request for their client to be detained at the Industrial Area remand prison, arguing that it amounts to a violation of the initial court order to detain him at Muthaiga Police Station for 30 days.

In his ruling, Magistrate Onyina acknowledged that the DPP’s concerns about the suspect possibly absconding court sessions if kept in police custody are well-founded.

“The DPP’s application to remand Mr Kang’ethe in prison has merit as the police who had been allowed to keep him are subject of investigation to establish how he managed to escape from Muthaiga Police Station,” the magistrate ruled.

He dismissed the objections raised by defense lawyers, who insisted that the court’s earlier ruling dictated the detention of the suspect at Muthaiga Police Station, or any other police station within the country.

On January 31, 2024, the DPP applied to have Kevin Kang’ethe detained at Muthaiga Police Station for 30 days. This detention period is intended for preparations for extradition proceedings, aiming to hand over the fugitive to US authorities to face murder charges.

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