Saudi Arabia delays execution of Kenya’s Stephen Munyakho after diplomatic intervention

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a significant development on May 13th: the postponement of Stephen Munyakho’s execution in Saudi Arabia.

This announcement was made by Korir Singo’ei, the Principal Secretary of Foreign Affairs, who disclosed that Saudi authorities had acceded to Kenya’s request to delay Munyakho’s execution, enabling further negotiations.

Stephen Munyakho, now referred to as Abdulkareem, was slated for execution on May 15th for the killing of a Yemeni national in Saudi Arabia. Singo’ei stressed the importance of reaching a resolution that would benefit both families and expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s cooperation.

“In our pursuit of a more acceptable resolution to this matter, providing closure to both families, we will continue to rely on the strong friendship we share with our Saudi partners, as well as the goodwill of all Kenyans,” a statement from PS Sing’oei conveyed.

“In the days ahead, we will engage stakeholders in Nairobi and Riyadh, including representatives from our religious leadership, to chart the next necessary steps.”

The news brought relief to Munyakho’s family, especially his mother, veteran journalist Dorothy Kweyu, who had implored the Kenyan government for assistance.

Stephen Munyakho had been incarcerated since 2012 and faced a hefty compensation demand of Ksh150 million, a sum his family struggled to raise.

Under President William Ruto’s administration, diplomatic endeavors were directed towards averting Munyakho’s execution, underscoring the significance of international relations in such delicate matters.

Munyakho’s case attracted attention due to the involvement of religious and diplomatic stakeholders from both Nairobi and Riyadh.

Singo’ei commended the collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kenya’s mission in Riyadh, recognizing their unwavering dedication.

Abdulkareem’s ordeal began in April 2011 when a confrontation with a colleague in Saudi Arabia led to tragic consequences. Sentenced to death, Abdulkareem spent 13 years in various Saudi prisons.

The deferment of his execution offered a glimmer of hope for a resolution that could spare his life and bring closure to both families involved.