Eighty Nine Ethiopians charged with being in Kenya illegally have started serving a three-month jail term after failing to raise a fine of Sh10,000 each.
There was drama when the convicts broke into tears after pleading guilty. Some knelt and started chanting prayers, which they said were for their families in Ethiopia.
Two of them were carried into the courtroom because “they were hungry and too weak to walk”.
Kibera senior magistrate Grace Nzioka directed the investigating officer to buy them food and take them to hospital immediately.
“Let them go out and be given food. Let them be taken to hospital. I want those people taken to hospital. You have enough resources,” she said.
The Ethiopians told the court that they were on transit to South Africa where they had been promised jobs.
“We were brought into the country by someone. We do not know the person physically. He has caused us a lot of suffering. We pray for mercy,” one of them told the court in mitigation.
Prosecutor Francis Ndiema asked the court to treat them as first offenders.
However, the magistrate said the country was becoming a hub for human trafficking and deterrent measures were needed to check the crime.
“On June 26, 40 Ethiopians were charged with a similar offence. We see a trend that is developing which is not good and it should be stopped. I’m concerned with the way the Kenyans (security personnel) on our border are doing their work,” the magistrate said before convicting them.
By NICHOLAS NGOLYO email@example.com Daily Nation
Video: Police round up 90 Ethiopian nationals