Reason Why DCI Will Conceal The Face Of Suspect Behind Nairobi Hospital Staffer’s Murder
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) recently announced the arrest of Ann Adhiambo Akinyi, a 16-year-old suspect in the murder of Nairobi Hospital Finance Director Eric Maigo. The DCI chose to withhold Akinyi’s photograph, citing legal provisions that protect the identities of juvenile offenders in Kenya.
Under the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA), it is illegal to publish the name, address, school, or photograph of a juvenile offender, or any information that could lead to their identification. This disclosure is only permissible with the explicit permission of the juvenile court or as mandated by the act’s provisions.
The CYPA also establishes specialized juvenile courts to hear all charges against individuals below the age of eighteen. However, cases involving children charged alongside adults are heard in regular adult courts. Juvenile courts have jurisdiction over both criminal matters and non-criminal ‘protection or discipline’ issues.
Juvenile courts are held in separate buildings, on different days, or at different times, and they are closed to the public. Currently, there is only one separate juvenile court in Kenya, located in Nairobi. In other parts of the country, cases involving juveniles are often processed in regular courts on an special basis.
The DCI’s decision to withhold Akinyi’s photograph is a reminder of the importance of protecting the rights of juvenile offenders. Even when juveniles are accused of serious crimes, they still have the right to privacy and the right to a fair trial.