Families want kin held in China over drugs repatriated
19 January 2016, 09:32
Nairobi - Over 40 Kenyan families whose relatives are serving jail terms in China for possession of drugs are appealing to the state to help repatriate them back home.
The distraught families want the government to hold talks with Chinese authorities to enable their incarcerated relatives finish their terms in Kenya.
Anne Wangoi, a 61-year-old widow narrates to News24 her plight after her daughter Anita Njoki was arrested in Hong Kong nearly eight years ago, after she was found in possession of narcotics.
"Njoki who turns 40 next month left for china in 2008 looking for a job. She got arrested at the airport on her way to Hong Kong. She was sentenced to twelve and half years in Prison for the offense and we hardly communicate well, save for the letters she occasionally sends us," she said.
"We are urging our government to come to our aid. My daughter who left three children behind and those of other families can come finish their sentences in Lang'ata women Prison. Their children and parents need them here," says Wangoi, amid tears.
Margaret Wanjiru, 52, is yet another mother whose daughter, Zuhra Wanjiru is being held in the same foreign country over drug related charges.
"Zuhra was lured by an agent promising to give her a job in China. Her arrest in 2010 and subsequent 11-year jail term she was handed devastated us. She left behind a daughter who was seven years then to look for greener pastures after her husband died. We want her home here where we can visit her easily," says Wanjiru.
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Emma Wamboi, daughter to Wanjiru says the continued stay of her sister in the Chinese jail has taken a toll on the health of their mother.
"The six years our sister has been held, she has spoken to us a handful of times. Whenever she calls us she is in tears. Our mother has developed ulcers and diabetes over her plight and she is afraid she could die before setting her eyes on her first born child," explained Wamboi.
Esther Kinyanjui, according to her sister Elizabeth Kinyanjui, is also serving an eleven-year term after being nabbed ferrying narcotics.
"She was arrested in 2008 and still has three years to go and none of us has been able to see her. We last spoke to her in December 2014," she said.
And it is not only about drug trafficking cases; some other Kenyans are also rotting in jail for other offenses. Like the case of 22-year-old university student Gilbert Mwasa.
His father Peter Mwasa says his son who was studying engineering at a university in Hong Kong was put behind bars after he failed to renew his visa on time.
“From the information we got, he was handed an eight-month sentence for the offense, never mind that the institution he was enrolled at was the one supposed to renew his visa after it expired," laments Mwasa.
The families spoke to News24 on Sunday at Karen in Nairobi, at a meeting convened by a Catholic priest, Father John David Wotherspoon.
Father Wotherspoon working with the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong has been visiting Kenyan prisoners in China. Wotherspoon has been in Kenya for the last three weeks and has met 35 families where he shared letters from their jailed relatives.
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