The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) will charge five police with the murder of a Mombasa tout, Caleb Espino.
The officers are police constables Khalifa Abdullahi Sigat, James Muli, Joseph Sirawa, Edward Kongo, and Nelson Nkanae.
Espino died a painful death on September 18, 2018, pathologists said. It occurred at Changamwe police station, witnesses, and our investigation show.
DPP’s move resulted from a case MUHURI filed on September 30, 2020, to have the culprits pay for their crimes.
MUHURI went for a private prosecution because the DPP and Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA)—a body legally mandated to hold the police accountable for criminal acts—delayed holding culpable officers liable.
MUHURI had sued DPP, IPOA, former Changamwe OCS, Yusuf Ibrahim, and National Police Service (NPS).
We learnt about the DPP plan through IPOA. The Authority’s officer, Emmanuel Lagat, in an affidavit filed in court on July 30, was responding to an application we made requiring IPOA to make an appearance in the case.
In a letter dated July 6, filed in court, and addressed to IPOA, the DPP, Noordin Haji, said: “There is sufficient evidence to charge the suspects with the offence of murder.”
Haji plans to register and prosecute the case in Nairobi to protect the victim’s family.
What autopsy revealed
Police arrested Espino on the evening of September 17, 2018, at White Castle Bar in Changamwe, Mombasa, during a swoop on drinking dens.
The officers, witnesses said, demanded Sh10,000 bribe to free Espino together with three people they had arrested. We established they did not bribe the cops and ended locked up at Changamwe police station.
Espino lost his life after police hit him with wooded clubs, punches, kicks, and put him in a tight chokehold before they crushed his head in a metal bar, witnesses and autopsy revealed.
Police assaulted Espino to death because he demanded to know the reasons for his arrest, corroborated statements from witnesses, and our probe disclosed.
A postmortem conducted on October 16, 2018, backed by a detailed toxicology examination released on February 28, 2019, confirmed Espino’s death was a homicide.
MUHURI, IPOA and Espino’s family witnessed the autopsy by four doctors, who included the government’s chief pathologist, Johansen Oduor, and Emilly Odhiambo of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU).
Espino died of multiple injuries on the head, upper cervical spine of the neck and chest, autopsy showed. There was a fracture due to blunt force trauma, bleeding within the brain, and injury to the upper spinal cord.
Pathologists saw bleeding into both sides of the lungs and the back. A rib on Espino’s left chest had a fracture. There was also a tear within one of his lungs.