Kenyans serving jail terms in foreign countries are set to be repatriated if bilateral agreements and treaties with the sentencing countries are put in place. This follows the drafting of the Model Agreement for Negotiation on the Transfer of Prisoners.
The Model Agreement is being drafted by the State Law Office under the direct guidance of Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai. The document will form the basis for the implementation of the Transfer of Prisoners Act, 2015 which came into effect on October 12th, 2015.
Once the various legal structures are in place, Kenyan inmates in different countries will be repatriated to complete their jail sentences in the country.
The Model Agreement is also expected to detail out the conditions for transfer of prisoners as well as the eligibility of the transfers to Kenya and from Kenya.
The Attorney General has confirmed that the model agreement will form the basis for the exchange of prisoners between Kenya and other signatory states to the Agreement. It is estimated that close to 3,000 Kenyans are serving jail sentences in various countries with Kenyan prisons also holding a similar numbers of foreign nationals.
The actualization of the Transfer of Prisoners Act 2015 is aimed at facilitating the transfer of persons serving sentences for criminal offences committed in Kenya or in countries outside Kenya while ensuring that prisoners are accorded basic dignities in line with human rights laws and international conventions. This will also allow the inmates to serve their sentences within the communities that they have ties.
The Model Agreement will according to the Act only apply where an agreement exists between Kenya and another country. However, the conditions for transfer can only be made through an application by the two states through the Attorney General or by an application from the Prisoner to the Attorney General for consideration but only if that person is a national of Kenya.
Professor Muigai made the disclosure during a visit to the Langata Women’s Prison last Friday where he received petitions from women inmates seeking consideration of Presidential pardon. During his visit to the facility, he met several inmates of Pakistani origin who made a plea for the transfer to their home country.
The visit to the Women’s facility comes at a time when the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (PMAC) chaired by the Attorney General is making recommendations to the Head of State for female inmates to be considered for pardon.
The female prisoners who can on recommendation by the PMAC qualify for Presidential pardon include prisoners who have served long sentences and have reformed; prisoners who received long jail sentences at an early age and such sentences have denied them individual human rights to have families.