Charcoal dealer Kisang seeks justice for wrongful imprisonment

Multiple tragedies for jailed villager after child commits suicide and two others disappear from home

In Summary

•Man held in prison for three years for a crime he did not commit.

•The prisoner he was accused of helping to escape had never met him.

Samuel Kisang
Samuel Kisang Samuel Kisang
Image: Jessicah Nyaboke

Samuel Kisang has suffered multiple tragedies in the past three years. He languished in jail for a crime he did not commit and during his incarceration, one of his children died and two others disappeared from home.

Now, the 59-year-old resident of Ngeria village in Uasin Gishu County is seeking justice for wrongful imprisonment through the Centre Against Torture, a human rights organisation.

Kisang was locked up at Eldoret prison on March 2, 2016, for allegedly aiding prisoner Paul Wanyama Silali to escape from Ngeria Prison Farm. But Eldoret senior resident magistrate Douglas Moseti found him innocent and freed him on March 21, 2019.

His accusers never appeared in court as the hearing of the case continued and prisoner Silali said it was not Kisang who helped him to escape. Indeed the two were strangers.

Before the wrongful imprisonment, Kisang operated a charcoal business at Ngeria shopping centre. On the day he was arrested, he had just arrived home from work when 14 officers from Kiambaa police station knocked on the door and demanded that he should surrender his mobile phone.

The police were accompanied by a prisoner they had arrested as he tried to escape. The prisoner said Kisang was not the person he had communicated with on the phone before the attempted escape.

He said he had been assisted by one Samuel Chepkwony and not Samuel Kisang. All the same, the police arrested Kisang in spite of him insisting that he had never met the prisoner. None of the numbers called on his phone corresponded with the prisoner's number.

He was put in prison remand for not accepting the charges levelled against him. 

His freedom should have been sweet news, but Kisang is yet to come to terms with the death by suicide of his second born child and the disappearance of two other children while he was in prison.

His wife, Juliana Cheborisa, recalled tearfully how the police forced their way into their house, injuring her in the process.

She said life had been extremely difficult for her and the children after Kisang's arrest. The children had to do odd jobs with some people taking advantage of them.

The poverty they experience forced Juliana to sell the only piece of land they had to repay loans and take care of the children.

Centre Against Torture programmes officer Kimutai Kirui blamed the police for shoddy investigations and subsequent malicious prosecution of Kisang.

He questioned why nothing was done to prison officers on duty at Ngeria Prison Farm when the prisoner escaped.

Kirui urged the new police boss and the attorney general to ensure that Kisang is compensated for mental torture and wrongful imprisonment.

Edited by f.mwaniki