Saturday, April 18, 2015

THREE convicted gang rapists have been sentenced to 15 years jail — after their original punishment sparked outrage

In 2013, six men attacked, bashed and gang raped a 16-year-old girl — known by the pseudonym Liz — as she returned from her grandfather’s funeral in Busia County, Western Kenya.

The gang dumped her, bleeding and unconscious, in a deep sewage ditch. Liz suffered a broken back, caused either by the beating or by being hurled down into the pit, as well as serious internal injuries from the rape.

The case made global headlines after it emerged that three of the alleged rapists were ordered by police to cut grass around the police station as punishment.

Worldwide outrage over the punishment prompted more than 1.8 million people to sign an online petition demanding justice.

On Monday, three of Liz’s assailants were sentenced to 15 years jail. "Today’s sentencing is sure to have a ripple effect across the nation, and hopefully the region at large," said lawyer Kimberly Brown, from the campaign group Equality Now, which supported the schoolgirl.

Other suspects are on the run, with the public prosecutor ordering they be "apprehended and brought to justice without further delay."

Sentencing had been set for last Friday but was delayed after one of the men skipped bail and failed to turn up, but police arrested him over the weekend.

Rape is a serious problem in Kenya but is seldom taken seriously by the police, rights groups say. "The sheer scale of sexual violence in schools, communities and its general acceptability in society is astounding," Ms Brown added.

Original report here

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