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Pete Ouko
Pete Ouko
KENYA: EX-DEATH ROW PRISONER CAMPAIGNS AGAINST CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

October 30, 2019:

A former death row prisoner has spoken out against capital punishment on the 17th World Day against the death penalty, saying it deprives convicts of contrition. Pete Ouko was sentenced to death in Kenya for alleged murder in 2001. Now free, he is fighting to end the death penalty everywhere.
Pete Ouko remembers the day he was sent behind bars.
"Twenty one years ago, my wife was found killed outside a police station," he told RFI on 10 October as the world gathered to mark World Day Against the Death Penalty.
"I got a call about it, I went to the police station to be told what had happened. Some people decided to say I should be locked in, some people who were related to me. And that's the genesis of my being in prison," he said.
Ouko was charged with murder and sentenced to death, but has always mantained his innocence.
Instead of bitterness, he forgave his tormentors and set about trying to reform the system that locked him away.
"We were working with a very corrupt criminal justice system," he comments.
"There are cases where judges never used to write judgments, they would get money from persons in court that are facing them, they write the judgment and they just bring for the judge to sign (…) Kenyans lost faith in the justice system."
But Ouko never lost his faith.
"I didn’t believe for any moment that I was going to die for something I didn't commit. (...) Everyday I would wake up and say I'm going home the next day. So I kept hope alive and I focused on my kids. I said to myself these kids don't have parents right now, how do I get to see them again?"
The judge who tried Ouko would become the first judge to be sacked for corruption in 2003, as Kenya set about overhauling its justice system.
"Things have changed. We now have judges who take the government to court," says Ouko of the surprise decision in 2017 by the Supreme Court to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta's election victory.
"We've had rulings even against the mandatory nature of the death penalty in Kenya," continues Ouko.
"Previously judges were told their hands were tied. If they found you guilty of the slightest offence under the penal code, they would sentence you to death. Today, judges have the discretion to make sentences as they deem fit."
The prison reform advocate hopes that Kenya, which currently has a moratorium on the death penalty, will eventually scrap it altogether.
"I know it's only a matter of time before it's over and done with".
For the former death row prisoner, who today runs a charity to keep young people out of crime, capital punishment does not help convicts or victims.
"It's retributive but it doesn't solve the problem. The problem is if there are crimes that are being committed, that person who is committing that crime needs to be corrected. That person needs to know they've done something wrong and that they can change. I believe in second chances."
Ouko was given a second chance in 2016, when he was pardoned by the president.
"I took a leap of faith and wrote to President Uhuru. I told him 'Sir, I don't agree with the decision of the court but I respect it. I've not attended any of my kids' graduations or plays, and now they're graduating, as a parent, I shouldn't miss this'".
On October 2016, Kenya commuted the death sentences of all 2,747 prisoners on the nation’s death row, including Ouko's.
Since his release, the ex-prisoner has campaigned to end the death penalty in Kenya and around the world to prevent a potential miscarriage of justice.
He was invited this week by the charity Ensemble contre la peine de mort or Together Against the Death Penalty in Paris, to share his story with students. 
"We need to give people a second chance, and I say that from what I saw in prison," he told them.
"In prison, people who had committed crimes would say I'm sorry I've done this, I need a second chance to make things right."
"When somebody is down, you don't continue hitting them, you help them to rise up again," he said.

(Sources: m.en.rfi.fr, 10/10/2019)

INDIA: HC UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE FOR RAPIST & KILLER OF MINOR
IRAN: TWO PRISONERS HANGED FOR MURDER
MOROCCO: DEATH SENTENCE CONFIRMED AGAINST FOUR MEN IN BACKPACKER MURDERS
OHIO, UTAH, WYOMING: MORE THAN 250 CONSERVATIVE LEADERS JOIN CALL TO END DEATH PENALTY
PAKISTAN: COURT HANDS DOUBLE DEATH PENALTY TO LAHORE MAN FOR RAPING, MURDERING CHILD
JORDAN: 22-YEAR-OLD MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDERING ZARQA LIBRARY OWNER
NIGERIA: COURT SENTENCES 2 MEN TO DEATH BY HANGING FOR MURDER IN EKITI
IRAN EXECUTED YOUNG MAN SENTENCED AS JUVENILE
BELARUS: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING TODDLER
JORDAN: SISTERS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER OF MAN, DOMESTIC HELPER
EGYPT: COURT SENTENCES MEMBER OF TERRORIST WARRAQ CELL TO DEATH
UN EXPERT: IRAN CONTINUES TO EXECUTE CHILDREN, HAS 90 ON DEATH ROW
INDIA: COURT AWARDS DEATH SENTENCE TO CYANIDE MOHAN
KENYA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR THEFT OF MOTORBIKE, MOBILE PHONE AND SH250
SRI LANKA: INDIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DEALING IN HEROIN
LOUISIANA (USA): ELVIS BROOKS RELEASED FROM STATE PENITENTIARY AFTER SPENDING 42 YEARS IN PRISON
BANGLADESH: 16 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING TEENAGER IN HARASSMENT CASE
INDIA: BOMBAY HC CONFIRMS DEATH SENTENCE TO TRIO WHO RAPED, KILLED TEEN
LIFE IMPRISONMENT: HANDS OFF CAIN, THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OPENS A BREACH IN THE WALL OF THE LIFE SENTENCE WITHOUT PAROLE
LIFE IMPRISONMENT. HANDS OFF CAIN URGES THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO AFFIRM THE RIGHT TO HOPE IN OUR COUNTRY
MALAYSIA: DRUG TRAFFICKER TO HANG AFTER APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE
BANGLADESH: 4 MEN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING FARIDPUR TRADER
MALAYSIA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDERING COLLEAGUE OVER TASTELESS FOOD
BANGLADESH: 7 GET DEATH FOR KILLING WOMAN AFTER RAPE IN JOYPURHAT
MALAYSIA: INDONESIAN COUPLE SENT TO GALLOWS OVER DEATH OF INFANT SON
BANGLADESH: 12 GET DEATH PENALTY FOR MURDER IN KISHOREGANJ
TANZANIA: APPEAL COURT UPHOLDS DEATH PENALTY OF TRIO
VIETNAM: A MAN WAS SENTENCED TO DEATH DUE TO MURDERING HIS GIRLFRIEND, CHOPPING HER BODY INTO SMALL PARTS
UAE: DEATH SENTENCE UPHELD FOR TWO ASIANS ACCUSED OF RAPE AND MURDER OF A WOMAN
CHINA: SUPREME PEOPLE'S COURT REAFFIRMS STRICT CONTROL OF DEATH PENALTY

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