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Questions linger as Kenyan who died in Ethiopian jail is eulogised

By LILLIAN MUTAVI December 20th, 2016 2 min read

A somber mood engulfed the Uhuru Highway Lutheran Church where the requiem mass for a Kenyan IT specialist who died in an Ethiopian jail was held in Nairobi.

Zakayo Muriuki Gatimu, 37, an information technology consultant, died on December 10, 2016 at Kalit Prison in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa where he had been held since January 10, 2015.

In his eulogy the deceased’s father, Emmanuel Gatimu, narrated how he watched his son lose hope of gaining freedom in a foreign country and die of depression following poor judicial system in Ethiopia.

Mr Gatimu told mourners that his son was arrested in Jijiga area of Ethiopia, but his case kept being postponed for various reasons.


“After numerous failed efforts to bring him back home failed Zak fell into depression early November,” said Mr Gatimu.

The father said that in August last year the deceased was found innocent but the court said that they had to type the judgment since it was handwritten, a process that would take three months since they were going on holiday.

“Which government had such a long holiday lasting three months and police are still arresting people?” Mr Gatimu posed.

All this while Zakayo believed that he would finally be set free in October since the judge had already ruled that he was innocent.

Mr Gatimu said that after the last hearing on October 27, 2016 the case was pushed to January 4, 2017 reason being the co-accused was not available for court hearing.


He narrated that this was the reason for his son falling into depression according to what he gathered from other inmates when he went to clear for his body.

He said that the inmates told him that he had stopped eating and was not leaving the cell to bask in the sun with the rest as he complained of headache and would later be taken to the prison’s health facility where he was admitted for two weeks.

When his health deteriorated he was transferred to St Paul’s Government Hospital when he was informed and flew there to be with him.

The father found him talking but after two days together at the hospital he stopped talking forcing him to feed him through pipes. Two weeks later he would be taken to the Intensive Care Unit where he died.

The father told Nairobi News he was yet to come to terms with the death of his son who has left behind a wife Maurine Njeri and a daughter Martha Brown Muriuki.