Kenyan father challenges Met refusal to hand over information that could have contributed to his death sentence

March 5, 2015

Image of hands hanging out of a prison cell

The High Court will today hear the case of a Kenyan man who is challenging Scotland Yard’s refusal to hand over personal information they hold on him, some of which could have contributed to his receiving a death sentence.

Ali Babitu Kololo, a 35-year-old father of two, was sentenced to death for robbery with violence by a Kenyan court in August 2013; the trial followed his torture by local police into ‘confessing’ to a role in the 2011 kidnapping of British tourist Judith Tebbutt and the murder of her husband David. The case against Mr Kololo at trial was based solely on limited circumstantial evidence and he has always maintained his innocence.

The Metropolitan police – along with the Foreign Office and Home Office – provided support to the public prosecution in Mr Kololo’s case, raising concerns they may have helped secure his death sentence, in contravention of UK policy. Mr Kololo – through his legal team at human rights charity Reprieve and law firm Leigh Day – is seeking to find out how the Metropolitan police has used his data and may do so in the future. The Metropolitan police have refused to allow Mr Kololo to see any of the information they hold on him.

Under the Overseas Justice and Security Act (OSJA), the UK is required to seek assurances that the death penalty will not be sought before they provide any assistance to prosecuting authorities. The UK police also have strict guidelines designed to avoid any complicity in torture, and yet relied on an account Mr Kololo later retracted – on the basis he was tortured – to call into question his credibility in the Kenyan trial Court.

Mr Kololo is also asking the Met to confirm what information they hold, which Kenyan authorities they shared his personal information with, and what they plan to do with the information in the future. The High Court is expected to rule in the case tomorrow.

Maya Foa, Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team Director, said: “The Metropolitan police helped secure the conviction of a man who was tortured in a mandatory death penalty case, in clear violation of UK policy. Mr Kololo has a right to know what information the Met has on him, and how they plan to use it. He has already suffered grave injustices thanks in large part to the actions of the Met; Scotland Yard must comply with British law and come clean about the information they hold on Mr Kololo.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8140