Meru High Court awarded Sh1.5 million to one man who was forced to spend a chilly night outside, in a police station next to the casket that carried his late wife’s remains.
Justice Edward Murithi ordered for payment of Sh1.5 million to Mwenda in compensation for breach of his human rights.
While delivering the judgment, Murithi said Mwenda had suffered a traumatizing experience at the hands of law enforcement officers.
“The action of police officers violated provisions of the Constitution and infringed on the rights, dignity, protection against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the petitioner,” said Mureithi.
Charles Mwenda encountered an unfortunate incident at the border between Meru and Tharaka Nithi on May 27, 2020, when he transporting the remains of his wife from Malindi for burial in Tigania.
The vehicle which Mwenda and his relatives were travelling in was stopped by police who had mounted a roadblock at Keeria.
The police had mounted the roadblock after President Uhuru Kenyatta declared a cessation of movement from one county to another in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The officers ordered everyone out of that vehicle then later turned everyone back to Malindi save for Mwenda and his late wife.
Mwenda could not understand why his relatives were turned back even after producing all the relevant documents, including a Covid-19 test result, yet he used the same documents along the journey.
They later bundled him into a police vehicle with his wife’s casket after the police officers threatened to haul him off to a 14-day quarantine facility.
The police took him away and abandoned him with the casket at the Kianjai police station, which is about 5km away from his home.
Mwenda said his pleas to the police to help him transport the body home fell on deaf ears, forcing him to spend the rest of the day and brave the rain in the cold night with nobody but his dead wife by his side.
A friend of Mwenda’s came to his rescue the following morning and helped him transport his wife’s body home where he buried his wife in the absence of their 3 children, family or friends.
His story moved Kenyans, who came together and raised more than half a million shillings to support him.