NAIROBI, KENYA – Late last week, two innocent men who were charged with a violent crime they had not committed were finally acquitted and declared free after nearly two years.
IJM staff met the men a year and a half ago. Their trial has been ongoing since January 2011, wrought with delays and much frustration. James was released from prison on bail and reunited with his wife and 8-year-old daughter, but Oliver had no way to post bail and was incarcerated in Nairobi's maximum-security prison for more than twenty months.
Christine Nkonge, one of IJM Kenya's lawyers, has walked closely with the two men, representing them in court and advocating for their release. She said that jubilant shouts and elated whoops erupted in the courthouse when the magistrate read the verdict and acquitted both James and Oliver of the false charges. Family members who had been awaiting the judgment were overjoyed with the news, and Oliver was overcome with emotion as he excitedly thanked IJM.
As James walked out with his brother and sister, a free man, he said that he felt happiness. To simply feel happy, he explained, was a miracle.