NAIROBI, KENYA – On April 18, two innocent men were set free after spending 75 days in prison – though they were never charged with an actual crime.
The chief police inspector told the court he was investigating a series of crimes, but didn’t have sufficient evidence to charge suspects. With the inspector’s unproven suspicions as the only evidence, Shadrack and Joseph were thrown in prison. The only way out was to post bail – about $1,200 – an impossible amount for the impoverished men.
IJM Kenya’s lawyer James Kironji met the men and quickly determined they were innocent. Kironji remembers: “I interviewed Shadrack and realized that he had been framed.” Shadrack, a night watchman, explained that another colleague tried to get him involved in a scheme to steal from their employer. Shadrack refused. But he would be arrested anyway, sent to prison along with other men like Joseph who had been rounded up and arrested on a mere suspicion that they might cause trouble.
“There is much more to be done to set the innocent prisoners free, but this release gives me hope and reminds me that justice is possible.”
IJM Kenya Lawyer
Earlier this month, IJM lawyer Kironji presented Shadrack and Joseph’s case before the court. Revealing the stunning lack of evidence against both men, the court declared that there was no reason to keep Shadrack and Joseph in prison. The men were set free.
Shadrack was happily reunited with his wife, and Joseph went home with his sister.
IJM Kenya lawyers continue to represent other men who share the same story as Shadrack and Joseph – arrested and imprisoned on unspecified charges, awaiting justice from inside prison walls.
“There is much more to be done to set the innocent prisoners free,” says IJM lawyer Kironji, “but this release gives me hope and reminds me that justice is possible.”