HRD Joe Ogada in court on 25 February 2015 for appeal judgment. He faces 2 other cases and his wife has court cases as well.

HRD Joe Ogada in court on 25 February 2015 for appeal judgment. He faces 2 other cases and his wife has court cases as well.

Nairobi, March 4 2014-  Kenyan human rights defender Joel Ogada has faced multiple charges in several court cases. In the latest case (criminal case 41/2013), Ogada has been charged with arson and has been convicted to seven years  imprisonment, following a ruling made on 16 May 2014.

Joel Ogada, a farmer in the Marereni area of Kilifi County at the Kenyan coast, denies all charges and had since appealed through the support of National Commission of Human Right Defenders. Since the investment of the salt companies in the Marereni area, community members have faced numerous human rights violations. Ogada has been among the more vocal and visible human rights defenders working closely with the Malindi Rights Forum (MRF).

The appeal

On Friday 5 December, 2014 at 9.00am, Ogada’s case was appealed to Malindi Law Courts. Ogada’s defense lawyer and state counsel made their arguments and submissions. The appeal was based on the questionable and inconsistent evidence provided by the prosecution, and denial of Ogada’s right to a fair trial.

Judgment postponed

The judgment on the appeal, scheduled for 25 February 2015, was in the end not delivered but postponed to 13 March 2015. The judge explained that he was recently transferred to Malindi law courts and was settling down, and writing pending judgments for Kakamega (western Kenya) where he was previously serving.

Human rights organisations, including Protection International, believe that the imprisonment of Ogada is a wider strategy to silence him and other community members in order to work undisturbed on the respective piece of land.

PI appeals for

  1. The judgment for the Appeal of Joel Ogada be finalized in his favour due to the denial of his right to fair trial under S. 25, S. 50 (2) (e)[2] (k)[3] of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
  2. The other 2 cases against Joel Ogada be dropped for want of prosecution in a bid to reduce the back log of cases against human rights defenders.[4]

 

Protection International has monitored the situation in the Marereni area closely. You can find out more about the land dispute as well as the personal situation of Mr Ogada here, and on his case here.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact Protection International atkenya@protectioninternational.org

 

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[1] Any person who, being in actual possession of land without colour of right, holds possession of it, in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace or reasonable apprehension of a breach of the peace, against a person entitled by law to the possession of the land is guilty of the misdemeanour termed forcible detainer.

[2] Right to have the trial begin and conclude without unreasonable delay;

[3] Right to adduce and challenge evidence;

[4] The Chief Registrar estimated that there are about 15, 000 human rights cases pending before the judiciary which they are working on reducing http://www.the-star.co.ke/article/judiciary-prosecute-15000-human-rights-cases-says-amadi#sthash.gpZUHenF.YD1CwVUV.dpbs

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