Justice at last for Liz as rapists jailed

Rights activists demand the arrest of the men who gang-raped Liz in 2013. FILE PHOTO |

What you need to know:

  • Teenager, her family and human rights campaigners have welcomed the verdict.
  • Activists demand that three other suspects who are still at large be arrested.

Three men were on Monday jailed by a Busia court after they were found guilty of raping a primary school girl whose story attracted global attention.

Busia Chief Magistrate Margaret Wambani found Owino Oduor, Fredrick Owin Odhiambo and Vincent Ouma guilty of gang-raping and causing grievous bodily harm to Liz and convicted them to 15 and seven years in jail respectively for the two offences.

Liz, her family and human rights campaigners welcomed the verdict.

Lawyer Wycliffe Okuta, who represented the three, applied for a stay of the sentence pending appeal.

But Ms Wambani upheld her earlier ruling and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison until their appeal is heard and determined.

SUSPECTS AT LARGE

Three other suspects in the case are still at large.

Liz and her mother welcomed the ruling but called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the remaining suspects.

“We are happy that the court has been fair and done justice especially for my daughter who has been subjected to all manner of trauma and indignity,” Liz’s mother told the Nation.

She went on: “It has been like a long bad dream that has done a lot of harm to us and turned our lives inside out. Finally, there is hope.”

The teenager said she was happy with the ruling, adding that the attack had left her with “unending backache”.

“I would like to see all of them arrested and locked in. They messed up my life,” said the soft-spoken Standard Eight pupil.

She said she would now focus on passing Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams later in the year.

Human rights organisations Equality Now, Avaaz and Fida Kenya welcomed the ruling but urged police to arrest the remaining suspects.

“Today’s sentencing is sure to have a ripple effect across the nation and hopefully the region. The fact that Liz’s case took so long to reach this point, and still faced serious obstacles despite strong and national global support, illustrates the injustices that are still suffered by survivors in a criminal justice system in transition,’’ said Equality Now legal consultant Kimberly Brown.

PUSHED INTO LATRINE

Liz, then 16, was accosted by a group of six young men as she returned from her grandfather’s funeral in Tingolo, Busia County, on the night of June 26, 2013.

Liz and her family said that after gang-raping her, they pushed her into a pit latrine before escaping.

Three of the rapists were arrested the following day and taken to Tingolo AP Camp where they were ordered to cut grass after which they were released.

Liz was also punished for “venturing out in the night’’ and was ordered to clean an office at the Administration Police Camp.

The sexual and physical violence left the teenager, then in Standard Seven, wheel-chair bound and with a leaking bladder after developing double obstetric fistula and a spinal injury.

She was eventually admitted to Gyno-Care Fistula Centre in Eldoret. She recovered and returned to school after more than a year out.

Her plight was highlighted by the Nation’s DN2 on October 8, 2013.

The Nation Media Group started a campaign, Stand Up for Liz, Help Her Walk Again, which received support locally and internationally, raising Sh890,000 for her medical kitty.

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