Human rights body wants govt to provide security for Magistrates

Human rights body wants govt to provide security for Magistrates

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Prison warders during a past recruitment exercise. Prison warders are charged with the responsibility of providing security to courts. PHOTO: COURTESY

Mombasa,KENYA: Human rights bodies in Mombasa have urged the government to enhance the security of judiciary staff especially magistrates.

Executive director of Beyond Legal Defence Fund for Human Rights-Boniface Nyaminde, said the government must act with speed to ensure magistrates are given 24 hour police protection.

This comes in the wake of a shocking incident in Nakuru County where an enraged suspect on Tuesday repeatedly stabbed a magistrate, who had sentenced him to three years in prison for assault.

According to Mr. Nyaminde, the government has been providing security to high court judges only despite the risks facing magistrates.

“Judges unlike Magistrates have security. It is only fair that both of them are given protection due to the nature of their jobs”, he said.

The rights body also condemned the Nakuru incident  and asked the authorities to act tough on such cases to deter those willing to copy the trend.

“It is quite appalling what happened in Nakuru. We must ensure our Magistrates are also protected since their lives are vulnerable in the hands of accused persons’, he said.

According to the rights body, Magistrates will now live in fear of repercussion when discharging their duties, which will have adverse effect on the course of justice.

He also called on all private security companies working in court precincts, to ensure they thoroughly vet visitors before allowing them access to courts.

“You cannot tell who has a bad intention. Therefore search everyone attending court to ensure they are not carrying any object that can be used as a weapon”, he urged.

The Nakuru Resident Magistrate, Ms Eunice Kelly, had just read the sentence against Michael Njeri Kuhora.

The suspect also injured a prison guard who tried to restrain him, injuring him on the arm.

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