TRUE: Long-serving capital offenders can now be released after serving two-thirds of their jail terms

In Summary

• The High Court has quashed Section 46 of the Prisons Act which required capital offenders to serve their sentences in full

The High Court.
The High Court.
Image: FILE

A Facebook post claiming that the High Court of Kenya has quashed a section of the law that denied capital offenders remission is TRUE.

The post that has been queued as potentially false, says that Justice George Odunga made the ruling at the Machakos High Court. Justice Odunga termed the clause discriminatory, saying that it is unfair for capital offenders to be denied the right to have their sentences reduced due to good behaviour, ill-health, or on other special grounds.

The post further adds that this was based on the assumption that those found guilty of capital offences were incapable of reform.

In his ruling at the Machakos Law Courts, Justice Odunga declared Section 46 of the Prisons Act, which condemned capital offenders to serve their sentences in full unconstitutional.

Justice Odunga argued that the dignity of a prisoner is ignored if he is denied remission that is available to others serving similar sentences, simply on the irrational presumption that he is incapable of reforming.

The case had been filed by five persons convicted of robbery with violence serving sentences ranging from 15 to 40 years. The five challenged a section of the Prisons Act saying that it contravenes Article 27 of the constitution, which guarantees equality and freedom from discrimination.

The five argued that since remission is not granted to prisoners sentenced for life or for an offence under section 296(2) of the Penal Code, capital offenders are treated unequally.

PesaCheck has looked into the claim that long-serving capital offenders can now be released after serving two-thirds of their jail terms and finds it to be TRUE.


This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact-checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.

By partnering with Facebook and similar social media platforms, third-party fact-checking organisations like PesaCheck are helping to sort fact from fiction. We do this by giving the public deeper insight and context to posts they see in their social media feeds.

Have you spotted what you think is fake news or false information on Facebook? Here’s how you can report. And, here’s more information on PesaCheck’s methodology for fact-checking questionable content.

This fact-check was written by PesaCheck Researcher James Okong’o, was edited by PesaCheck Deputy Editor Ann Ngengere and was approved for publication by PesaCheck Managing Editor Eric Mugendi.