A handcart pusher convicted for the murder of Pio Gama Pinto (above) has resurfaced and wants the court to declare his trial a miscarriage of justice.
Kisilu Mutua was sentenced to death in 1965, following Pinto’s assassination, a leading freedom fighter in Kenya.
After serving 35 years in jail, President Moi pardoned him and ordered his release on July 4, 2001.
He was 22 years old when he was arrested.
Mutua has now sued the Attorney General, seeking a declaration that his rights under the 1963 constitution were violated when he was tortured while in police custody.
He wants the court to award him exemplary and punitive damages.
Mutua says on February 24, 1965, he was arrested by six people while drinking at the New Rwathia Bar with friends.
He was then taken to Eastleigh police station where his testicles were allegedly squeezed and he was beaten on the toes with a rungu.
He says he was interrogated and severely tortured by European and African police officers who wanted him to confess to murdering Pinto and was forced to sign a statement confessing to the murder.
“I was also detained at Pangani police station where I was brutalised by police officers, forcing me to sign a confession statement at the point of death. I was forced to sign a statement confessing to the murder,” Mutua says.
Mutua was on July 5, 1965 charged with the murder before Sir John Ainley, then Chief Justice.
He was convicted on July 15, 1965 and sentenced to death.
Mutua says he appealed the conviction and sentence, but on November 12, 1965, in proceedings that took less than 30 minutes, his appeal was dismissed without any judgment being written.
He says the entire case was founded on uncorroborated, retracted involuntary confession.
The Court of Appeal erred in not accepting the opinion of the assessor who unanimously found he was not guilty as charged, Mutua said.
According to court documents, Justice Ainley said the case wore unfinished aspects and they may not have had all who were involved in the crime.
Mutua was held at the Kamiti Maximum Security and Naivasha prisons for the 36 years. He says he was never told when his death sentence imposed upon me would be executed or that it was commuted on what terms.
During the long period of imprisonment, he lost all his relatives.
Pinto, a Kenyan of Asian origin was gunned down as he drove out of his house in a Nairobi suburb on February 19, 1965.
He was the first Kenyan politician to be assassinated after independence.