Saudi Arabia Postpones Kenyan Stephen Munyakho's Execution After Govt Intervenes

Munyakho's execution was set for Wednesday, May 15.

Saudi Arabia Postpones Kenyan Stephen Munyakho's Execution After Govt Intervenes
A collage of Stephen Munyakho (left) and an aerial view of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia (right). /DOROTHY KWEYU.AHMED YOSRI

The Kenyan government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has confirmed that it had a request granted by the government of Saudi Arabia to have the execution of Stephen Munyakho postponed.

This was announced by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Korir Sing'oei in a statement on X on Monday, May 13. Munyakho's execution was set for Wednesday, May 15.

Below is Sing'oei's statement:

I am deeply grateful to inform that authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have kindly granted our request to postpone the impending execution of Stephen Munyakho (now known as Abdulkareem), to allow for further negotiations between all parties.

Stephen was due to be executed on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

Foreign Affairs PS Korir Sing'oei speaking during a past event. /KORIR SING'OEI

As we devise strategies to bring this matter to a more acceptable conclusion, and thereby giving both families the closure they so urgently need and deserve, we shall continue to lean on the warm and solid friendship that we have with our Saudi partners, as well as on the goodwill of all Kenyans.

In the coming days, we shall be engaging stakeholders in Nairobi and Riyadh, including representations from our religious leadership, to agree on the next urgent steps. 

I wish to extend gratitude to our teams - both at the Ministry Headquarters and our Mission in Riyadh - for their tireless efforts.

Munyakho is the son of veteran journalist Dorothy Kweyu, who had begged the Kenyan government to intervene and save him from the hangman's noose.

"The execution is too terrible to contemplate. Therefore, we appeal to you all to help us raise this amount," she stated asking 1 million Kenyans to donate Ksh150 each.

He is accused of causing the death of a Yemeni national who was his workmate after a fight between the two and has been in prison since 2011.

After the court hearing, the victim's family called for the Kenyan's execution. However, after years of appealing the case, the family finally opted for the alternative solution which is paying the blood money amounting to Ksh150 million. 

Sing'oei, while speaking in an interview with Citizen TV's Jeff Koinange last week, said that his ministry through the Saudian envoy to Kenya Mohammed Ramadhan Ruwange was engaging his counterparts to negotiate for an extension to the May 15 deadline.

“The circumstances that this gentleman is in are dire. When this case was brought to our attention, we instructed our Ambassador in Saudi Arabia Mohammed Luwaje to re-engage because we believe the door is not quite shut yet...even though it is a great thing for Kenyans to rally together to try and raise the Ksh150 million we think there are diplomatic pathways we can try to resolve this issues,” he said.

“Based on the engagements of our Ambassador in Saudi today, we strongly believe that that deadline might be extended particularly when we demonstrate to the court that efforts have been rolled out to try and mobilize some resources to be able to meet this family mid-way.”

Despite reiterating the grave nature of the crime allegedly committed by Munyakho, the PS pointed out that the judgement by the Saudian government was ‘egregious’ in nature which ultimately gave the accused no chance of raising the required amount.

Veteran journalist Dorothy Kweyu (left) and her son Stephen Bertrand Munyakho. /BRINGBACKSTEVO