Kenya mulls law on prisoner swap with foreign states

Nairobi, March 13 (IANS) Kenya is drafting a bill that will allow nationals serving jail terms in foreign countries to be repatriated to serve the remaining years or months of their sentence in local jails, an official statement said on Sunday.

“If bilateral agreements and treaties with the sentencing countries are put in place, then it will be made possible for Kenyans to be brought back to the country and charged here,” said the statement from Attorney-General Githu Muigai’s office.

Githu Muigai is currently guiding the drafting of the proposals which will form the basis of implementing the Transfer of Prisoners Act 2015 which came into effect in October 12, 2015, Xinhua news agency reported.

The statement said the Transfer of Prisoners Bill 2014 creates a framework for facilitating the exchange of prisoners pursuant to agreements between Kenya and other countries.

“The Transfer of Prisoners Act is aimed at facilitating arrangements for the transfer of persons serving sentences of imprisonment for criminal offences committed in Kenya or countries outside Kenya, pursuant to subsisting agreements,” the statement said.

However, the conditions for transfer can only be made through an application by the two states through the Attorney General (AG) or by an application from the prisoner to the AG for consideration but only if that person is a national of Kenya.

The Act was enacted in order to help transfer prisoners serving sentences in foreign countries as well as to ensure that they received humane treatments in line with rights and freedoms in Kenya and international conventions.

The Act comes at a time when the country has sentenced several pirates, terrorism suspects and illegal aliens to serve jail terms.

Several Kenyans have also been committed to jail in foreign countries for different crimes, including drug trafficking.

Muigai made the disclosure during a visit to a women’s prison in Nairobi where he received petitions from women inmates seeking consideration of Presidential pardon.

During his visit to the facility, he met several inmates of Pakistani nationality who made a plea for the transfer to their home country.

It is estimated that close to 3,000 Kenyans are serving jail sentences in various countries with Kenyan prisons also holding similar number of foreign nationals.

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