Kenya Negotiates Postponement of Execution of Stephen Munyakho in Saudi Arabia

Kenya's government negotiates postponement of Stephen Munyakho's execution in Saudi Arabia, initially set for May 15, 2024. Saudi authorities demand 3.5 million Saudi Riyals in "blood money" for Munyakho's release.

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Nitish Verma
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Kenya Negotiates Postponement of Execution of Stephen Munyakho in Saudi Arabia

Kenya Negotiates Postponement of Execution of Stephen Munyakho in Saudi Arabia

The Kenyan government has successfully negotiated the postponement of the execution of Stephen Munyakho, a 50-year-old Kenyan man, in Saudi Arabia. Munyakho was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing a Yemeni co-worker during a fight.

Why this matters: This case highlights the complexities and challenges of navigating different legal and cultural systems, particularly in cases involving capital punishment. The outcome of this negotiation could have implications fordiplomatic relations between Kenya and Saudi Arabia, as well as for the fate of other foreigners facing similar sentences in the region.

Munyakho's execution, diplomatic, initially scheduled for May 15, 2024, has been postponed to allow for further negotiations between all parties involved. The Saudi authorities are demanding 3.5 million Saudi Riyals (approximately Ksh 123 million or $1 million) in "blood money" for Munyakho's release.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing'oei expressed gratitude to the Saudi authorities for granting the postponement. "I am deeply grateful to inform that authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have kindly granted our request to postpone the impending execution of Stephen Munyakho (now known as Abdulkareem), to allow for further negotiations between all parties," Sing'oei stated.

The Kenyan government will engage stakeholders in Nairobi and Riyadh, including religious leaders, to agree on the next steps to secure Munyakho's release. Sing'oei emphasized the importance of finding a favorable outcome for both families involved, saying, "As we devise strategies to bring this matter to a more acceptable conclusion, thereby giving both families the closure they so urgently need and deserve, we shall continue to lean on the warm and solid friendship that we have with our Saudi partners, as well as on the goodwill of all Kenyans."

Munyakho, who has been behind bars for 13 years, was initially convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison. However, the victim's family appealed to a Shariah court, leading to the death sentence. Under Islamic law, "diya" or "blood money" is a possible compensation to the victim's family, which must be paid in full for Munyakho's release and the removal of the threat of execution, detained, government, intervention.

Munyakho's family, led by his mother, veteran journalist Dorothy Kweyu, has been trying to raise funds to pay the "blood money" and secure his release. A committee has been formed to appeal for help in raising the required amount.

The postponement of Stephen Munyakho's execution offers a glimmer of hope for his family and the Kenyan government as they work towards securing his release. The case highlights the complex legal and cultural differences between countries and the challenges faced by individuals caught in the midst of such situations. As negotiations continue, the focus remains on finding a resolution that provides closure and justice for all parties involved.

Key Takeaways

  • Kenyan government negotiates postponement of Stephen Munyakho's execution in Saudi Arabia.
  • Munyakho was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing a Yemeni co-worker in a fight.
  • Saudi authorities demand 3.5 million Saudi Riyals in "blood money" for Munyakho's release.
  • Kenyan government to engage stakeholders to agree on next steps to secure Munyakho's release.
  • Munyakho's family is trying to raise funds to pay the "blood money" and secure his release.