A court in Nairobi, Kenya capital has convicted three men yesterday for the brutal gang rape of a schoolgirl.
Kimberly Brown one of the counsels to the victim said the sentencing will have a ripple effect across the nation, “and hopefully the region at large.”
A worldwide outrage had earlier greeted the first punishment meted to the men when they were asked to cut grass. This prompted more than 1.8 million people to sign an online petition demanding justice.
The then 16-year-old victim, known by the pseudonym Liz, was reportedly attacked, beaten and then raped by six men as she returned from her grandfather’s funeral in western Kenya in June 2013.
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.
Brown stated that the fact that Liz’s case took so long to reach , “this point – and still faced serious obstacles despite strong national and global support – illustrates the injustices that are still suffered by survivors.
“While Kenya boasts one of the most progressive legal and policy frameworks for addressing sexual violence, Liz’s case and countless others have revealed significant failures of local authorities to adequately address sexual violence,” he said.
The case made global headlines after it emerged that three of the alleged rapists whom Liz identified were ordered by police to cut grass around the police station as punishment. Other suspects are on the run, with the public prosecutor ordering they be “apprehended and brought to justice without further delay,” although it has been more than a year since arrest warrants were issued.
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.
Rights groups have condemned the trivial approach of the Kenyan police to rape cases, which is becoming one of the grave problems plaguing the East African country.