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Kenyan woman cleared after 7 years falsely accused

Almost seven years after Jacinta Irungu was falsely accused of robbery with violence – a crime which can carry the death penalty in Kenya – she was finally acquitted of all charges in May 2022.

Crying tears of joy, Jacinta said, "I am happy that the case is over. I am free.”

Since 2015, Jacinta Mumbi Irungu has lived with the possibility of life in prison - or worse - constantly hanging over her head.

The mother of two was arrested after a taxi she used for her small catering business was found to have been stolen at gun point.

Jacinta, shocked to learn this, willingly provided information to the police about how she had used the vehicle and who it belonged to.

But the police proceeded to charge Jacinta with the offense of robbery with violence and an alternate charge of handling stolen goods.

Despite no evidence linking Jacinta to the robbery, the fact that she did not own the car and did not even know how to drive, she was framed for the crime.

IJM Kenya took on her case in 2016. They supported her to get bail, so that her children weren’t left without a caregiver, and to relocate when her family faced harassment and victimization by her landlord and neighbors.

“I suffered a lot. No one wanted to see me when I went to search for a job. People would point at me. Even the taxi drivers refused to carry my food, they would say I am a robber and that I have a gun.”

The case faced many challenges and delays, including magistrates being transferred several times, and Jacinta’s co-accused jumping bail in 2019.

But at last, with IJM’s support in court, Jacinta has finally been cleared of the false charges.

“Right now, I am very happy that I am a free person and I will no longer be in court,” Jacinta said.    

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