Every month, the Kenya Judiciary in conjunction with Legal Resources Foundation Trust (LRFT), has been conducting Legal Aid Clinics at various prisons within their jurisdictions.
On Friday, 14 July 2023, a team from the JKIA (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) Law Courts, led by the Senior Principal Magistrate, Hon. Njeri Thuku, invited LRFT to accompany them to provide legal education and assistance during their court visit at the Nairobi Remand and Allocation Prison and Langata Women Prison consequently.
The visit aimed at conducting prison mentions for the remandees in the two prisons, and Hon. Njeri extended her invitation to LRFT, as well as the Paralegal Society of Kenya (PSK), a consortium of Human Rights Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), which provides means of enhancing access to justice in Kenya through legal aid, training, and awareness, where she envisioned to hold sessions with the remandees from the JKIA Law Courts, as well as offering legal aid and assistance to others remandees that the prison authorities deemed fit.
With more than half of the remandees held at both prisons from the JKIA Law Courts being foreigners, Hon. Njeri requested the two organizations to assist in holding the legal clinics at the two prisons, in order to listen and to address the remandees’ concerns.
The LRFT team was represented by Timothy Mwichigi and Paul Kauku, whereas the PSK team was represented by the National Coordinator, Ms. Mary Airo. More than forty remandees from the two prisons received legal aid and awareness, as various concerns were addressed, ranging from delays in the processing of their cases since the day they were remanded, to some failing to access bail and bond as required by the constitution.
Some remandees have had issues with their lawyers, who at some point, have not been sharing valid information with their clients in regard to their cases, including the status of their bail and or bond. Some remandees also blamed their lawyers for failing to appear before court proceedings to represent them, a case that resulted in the remandees being charged for mistakes they hardly knew about.
It was noted that most foreign remandees could not be granted either bail or bond because of the circumstances availed by the court, as most of them might pose a flight risk, a scenario that the remandees had no idea about.
The Paralegals from the two institutions provided knowledge and guidance to the remandees, a process that was well received as they requested more sessions in the future.