The death of an inmate at the Lang’ata Women’s Prison on Sunday, February 29, 2020, has raised more concerns over the safety of inmates in the country’s correctional facilities.
Fathiya Nassir’s unexpected death raised questions among her kin following conflicting accounts of the circumstances that led to her demise.
Prison authorities, in a statement, claimed that she died while undergoing treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Jane Kiiri, Officer in Charge at Langata Women’s Maximum Security Prison. Photo undated.
African Prisons Project
“The deceased was a remand prisoner in our custody awaiting trial. She passed on at KNH while undergoing treatment yesterday, 1st March 2020,” a letter signed by Everlyne Kaliti, the Deputy Officer in charge of the prison reads in part.
However, what was to be an open and shut case became more complicated as new information came to the light.
Fathiya’s family started having doubts after they were shown her body in a photo showing her state before her body was cleaned by mortuary staff.
The family narrates that she spotted a black eye, her jaw appeared dislocated, her face was swollen and her head was lying on a large dark red pool of blood on a metallic stretcher.
Fathiya’s mother, when she was contacted by the authorities at the prison on Monday was asked to sign an affidavit saying she would not conduct a postmortem. However, after viewing her daughter’s body she decided to conduct the autopsy.
The decision, which goes against Islamic law, was also informed by the conflicting reports the family received from the prison authorities.
“They said she was not feeling well and went to see a nurse at 4 p.m. on Sunday, but that by 6 p.m., her condition had worsened, prompting her to be rushed to the Kenyatta National Hospital, but died on arrival at the hospital,” provided the family.
Relatives of the late Fathiya Nassir comforting her mother Mariam Ahmed (second right) at City Mortuary on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
This is in contrast to the letter by the deputy officer in charge at the Langata Women’s Prison, who stated that she had died during treatment at LKNH and not on arrival.
Prison authorities, when questioned, stated that the injuries she bore on her face and the bleeding were due to the mishandling of the body by the mortuary staff.
The postmortem conducted by the family on Wednesday, March 4, identified the cause of death as blunt force trauma, but the pathologist would not release particulars before first notifying the police.
Fadhiya was laid to rest at the Langata Muslim Cemetery. The family is still mulling over the next course of action on the matter.
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