Ruth Kamande, who won a prison beauty pageant while awaiting trial, slashed her partner Farid Mohammed to death in 2015 and was convicted in May. In a particularly gruesome slaying, Kamande stabbed Mohammed 25 times, killing the 24-year-old.
A Kenyan court Thursday, sentenced the jailhouse beauty queen, 24, to death for murdering her boyfriend, drawing criticism from rights groups who called the punishment ‘inhumane’.
Ruth Kamande, was on trial for slashing her partner Farid Mohammed [photo], to death in 2015
Slamming the actions of the defendant High Court judge Jessie Lesiit passing sentence on Thursday said : ‘I want young people to know that it is not cool to kill your boyfriend or girlfriend even where you feel disappointed or frustrated – don’t do it,’ judge Jessie Lesiit admonished the convicted woman.
‘Instead, it is cool to walk away and thereafter to forgive,’ he added.
The judge accused Kamande [photo, left], of ‘manipulative’ behaviour that included accessing the victim’s mobile phone as well as showing no remorse for the vicious attack which left ‘blood all over’ the crime scene.
‘I think passing any other sentence than the one prescribed [death] would turn the accused into a hero,’ said Lesiit.
Ruth Kamande testified that she stabbed Farid Mohammed 22 times to stop him from infecting her with HIV. She claimed that in September 2015 she and Farid had fought over his HIV status and that he had deliberately tried to infect her. Kamande claimed Mohammed then threatened to kill her if she revealed his HIV positive status.
“Mohammed told me he would rather kill me and himself than have his status exposed,” Kamande told the court.
“I stabbed him severally with a kitchen knife, which fell on my chest from his hands after I overpowered him, after putting my two thumbs in his eyes to save my life.”
They got into a fight after she discovered a card for HIV treatment bearing his name hidden under a mattress, Kamande said.
Judge Jessie Lesiit dismissed Kamanda’s self-defense argument while sentencing her to death
Kamande bows her head in grief as the court rejected her self-defense plea on Thursday, and handed down the death penalty
Addressing the presiding judge, she said: “Your honour it pained me to know that the person whom I loved and trusted so much was to ruin my life by infecting me with HIV and Aids.”
A skeptical Judge Lessit however rejected the account and termed Kamande a ‘controlling and manipulative lady’ who acted out of jealousy and disappointment, mainly because she felt Mohammed had been cheating on her.
The judge described the defendant’s HIV defense as ‘laughable’, an after thought that she injected into her defense in the middle of the trial.
The prosecution earlier accused Kamande of inflicting injuries on herself, in a bid to cover up her crime.
Rights group Amnesty International called the sentence ‘cruel, inhumane and outdated’.
‘This sentence is a blow to Kenya’s progressive record in commuting death sentences to terms of imprisonment,’ said Amnesty director Irungu Houghton.
The victim’s family insisted the sentence matched the crime.
‘We’re glad that this day came and his grandparents, his sister were actually in court today when this verdict was given,’ the victim’s tearful aunt Emmah Wanjiku told reporters after the sentencing.
‘He had just started his job when his life was cut short.’
Kamande’s lawyer Joyner Okonjo said she would appeal the sentence.
Kenya has an effective ban on carrying out death sentences and no death row prisoner has been executed since 1987.
The country’s Supreme Court ruled in December 2017 that the mandatory death sentence for murder and armed robbery was unconstitutional, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The death sentence remains on the statute books however.