Relief for Stephen Munyakho’s family as execution is postponed

Stephen Munyakho and his family can now breathe a temporary sigh of relief as the imminent threat of his execution in Saudi Arabia has been postponed. Munyakho had endured 13 years within various Saudi penitentiaries following an altercation in April 2011, resulting in the tragic demise of a colleague. To save their son from the gallows, the family had to mobilize approximately Ksh150 million.

The Principal Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Korir Sing’oei, announced via Twitter on Monday the Saudi government’s agreement to delay Munyakho’s execution. “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,” he conveyed.

Initially sentenced to death by sword, Munyakho faced execution on Wednesday, May 15. Sing’oei emphasized the ongoing efforts to seek a favorable resolution for both families. “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,” the PS added.

Sing’oei highlighted the involvement of stakeholders from Nairobi and Riyadh, including religious leaders, in determining the way forward. “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,” he stated.

Originally sentenced to five years for manslaughter, Munyakho’s fate shifted dramatically when the victim’s family appealed to a Shariah court, resulting in the death penalty.