Kenyans took to social media to celebrate the sentencing of rapists, earlier let free by only cutting grass at a police station even as the Director of Public Prosecutor (DPP) sought to have an enhanced sentence for the rapists.
In June 2013, the then 16-year-old victim, known by the pseudonym Liz, was reportedly attacked, beaten and then raped by six men as she returned from her grandfather’s funeral in Busia County. The gang dumped her, bleeding and unconscious, in a deep sewage ditch. She suffered a broken back, caused either by the beating or by being hurled down into the pit, as well as serious internal injuries from the rape.
When she reported it to the police, the punishment meted on the three rapists was cutting grass at the police station, a laughable punishment that led to worldwide condemnation. This worldwide outrage over the punishment prompted more than 1.8 million people to sign an online petition demanding justice. A campaign seeking to ensure to receive justice has finally bore fruits.
Lawyer Kimberly Brown, from the campaign group Equality Now, which supported the schoolgirl remarked
“today’s sentencing is sure to have a ripple effect across the nation, and hopefully the region at large.”
Grass-cutting Busia rapists get 22 years in jail http://t.co/nY82mslATE #JusticeForLiz pic.twitter.com/Dg4vC4XKWs
— Daily Nation (@dailynation) April 13, 2015
…i rejoice in this and look forward to seeing this precedent followed in many other SGBV cases in Kenya and world over. #JusticeForLiz — Sitawa Wafula (@SitawaWafula) April 14, 2015
Special S/O to @Aliben86 for setting this #JusticeForLiz ball rolling in 2013, you are truly a star Nebila
— Sitawa Wafula (@SitawaWafula) April 14, 2015
Kenyans did not just look at the sentencing as justice for Liz but also a win for women rights.
Thank yo @equalitynow who work to ensure justice for adolescent girls by supporting legal cases like Liz’s & @KimberlyMBrown #JusticeForLiz — Winnie Maru (@maruwinnie) April 13, 2015
Authorities must be held accountable and we must continue to push for safe environments for girls, #JusticeForLiz — Winnie Maru (@maruwinnie) April 13, 2015
Why #JusticeForLiz sentencing is a breakthrough for women’s rights in Kenya http://t.co/b4jpV6Rwjg pic.twitter.com/WwdttlhLAT — Global Development (@GdnDevelopment) April 13, 2015
Finally some #JusticeforLiz But, truth be told, those rapists got off easy. She will live with her physical and emotional scars for life. — Julie Gichuru (@JulieGichuru) April 13, 2015
Some are suggesting that the rapists should also be charged with attempted murder.
I agree with @NjeriThorne that the judge overlooked attempted murder in #JusticeForLiz case. The rapists dumped her in a pit latrine! — George Jim Githinji (@PoliticsKE) April 14, 2015
Dear @ODPP_KE : add attempted murder to charge sheet? The perpetrators dumped her in a pit latrine! https://t.co/zqaPSiaYMf #JusticeForLiz — George Jim Githinji (@PoliticsKE) April 14, 2015
It is a call, the DPP could be considering as he seeks to harsher sentencing for the rapists
DPP Keriako Tobiko says the sentence handed to #JusticeForLiz suspects is lenient and will seek its enhancement. — Oliver Mathenge™ (@OliverMathenge) April 14, 2015
DPP to seek an enhancement of sentence in the #JusticeForLiz case (Busia Gang Rape Case) pic.twitter.com/i9DnTSJdkF — ODPP_KE (@ODPP_KE) April 14, 2015