KENYAN CONVICT IN CHINA ‘UNLIKELY’ TO BE EXECUTED

Ms Floviance Razan Owino who has been convicted of drug-related offences and would face the hangman’s noose in Beijing. PHOTO | COURTESY

It is “highly unlikely” that a Kenyan woman convicted in China of drug trafficking will be executed, her family’s lawyer says.

Speaking to Daily Nation in Nairobi on Thursday, Mr Okweh Achiando said Ms Floviance Razan Owino’s sentence could be commuted either to life or a fixed term.

“Not a single Kenyan in China has been executed so far, not even those with worse crimes than Ms Owino. I can confidently say that execution is out of the question,” said Mr Achiando.

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He explained that Ms Owino’s execution was stayed for two years after sentencing as a form of reprieve common under China’s laws, after which a case is reviewed.

Ordinarily, if a prisoner commits any other crime during that period, an execution is carried out.

“Ms Owino’s case is now up for review because she was sentenced in 2013. The two likely outcomes are that she will either serve a life sentence or a fixed term after which she will be released, given a letter of completion and brought back to Kenya,” he said.

He added that an English-speaking lawyer had been appointed to ensure that Ms Owino gets a fair trial during the review hearing.

He, however said that there was no possibility of the accused being extradited to be tried or to serve her sentence in Kenya. Kenya and China have no bilateral prison swap agreement.

COME HOME

The lawyer said arrangements were being made to have her family visit her.

According to Tamara Owino, Floviance’s sister, the family has not seen or heard from her since her arrest in 2013.

She left the country after a disagreement with her husband and efforts to track her down since then have been futile.

“We are hopeful that my sister will come home one day and we would like to thank the government of Kenya and our lawyer for their efforts to help my sister,” she said.

According to human rights group Amnesty International, China executed more people in 2013 than the rest of the world put together.

It is believed that the country executes thousands of prisoners every year, although actual figures remain a state secret.

Death penalties are commonly handed out for violent crimes such as murder, although even non-violent crimes like the drug trafficking, which Floviance Owino is accused of, also attracts a death penalty.

In Kenya, the last execution was carried out in 1987. However, the death penalty is still handed out for serious crimes such as murder.

 

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