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Kenyan jailed for life in China over drug trafficking

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Simon Wambua Mbuvi, 44, earned a living in Kenya as a farm labourer.

Now, he will spend the rest of his life in a Chinese jail, joining 30 other Kenyans languishing there for various crimes.

Two weeks ago, the Chinese Intermediate People’s Court of Guangzhou Municipality in Guangdong Province found him guilty of trafficking drugs concealed inside his stomach into Chinese territory.

Court documents obtained by the Nation show that Chief Judge Hu Peng and colleagues Wen Fangdao and Huang Jian found Mbuvi had about 947 grammes of cocaine in his stomach and gave him a life sentence.

Under the Chinese criminal law, he would be facing a death penalty had the amount been a kilo or more. Except Mbuvi was not a veteran trafficker.

Whether out of greed or naivety, Mbuvi’s ordeal began on the morning of November 25, 2018 after he touched down in Guangzhou via an Ethiopian flight.

As a first-time traveller to China, the Kenyan was everything but a trafficker: he had a valid visa, a return ticket and an itinerary of what he was to do in China – “buy some items and bring them back”.

But his trip had been choreographed by a network of drug kingpins. It had started three months earlier when a woman known as Breda approached him with an offer of $2,050 (Sh211,150) to undertake an assignment for her.

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Breda, also known as Fridah, did the spadework of buying the ticket, paying visa fees and linking him to other people. She however did not say the man would be on an illegal drugs delivery assignment.

MBUVI CAUGHT

So, on the morning of November 24, Mbuvi set out for China through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. He travelled to Addis Ababa for a connecting flight and was linked to two other men.

His hosts gave him food, told him to rest then convinced him to swallow 79 capsules using water and soda. Later, they dropped him off at the airport where he would board the flight to China.

But there was one instruction: he was not supposed to eat anything aboard the 12-hour flight. In China, some other agents would receive him and host him.

As he went through the immigration corridors, an X-ray scanner illuminated “suspected granular items”. Evidence tabled in court says Mbuvi’s stomach had unusual foreign matter.

“Customs personnel, through an X-ray machine, found that the inside of his body contained suspected granular items and handed the matter over to the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Customs Anti-Smuggling Sub-bureau in Guangdong.” In two days he had discharged 79 capsules. They weighed 947.03 grammes.

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DEFENCE

He stayed at the Guangdong Provincial General Hospital for two days, satisfying authorities that he was not a drug user himself.

Mbuvi, a first-time offender, tried a spirited defence, telling the court through a translator that he did not know he had swallowed drugs. When this was dismissed, he said Fridah had forced him to swallow the drugs as part of the deal.

The judges dismissed the defence and ruled that he had carried a substance “extremely harmful to the society”.

They seized the cash he had been given and his Tecno mobile phone. The court statement published his Chinese contacts but their legal identities differed from the names saved in his phone, suggesting a routine use of nicknames.

Fridah had first contacted Mbuvi in July 2018 and inquired whether he had a passport. She arranged the trip, issued instructions and demanded updates.

Mbuvi was given 10 days to appeal. But in the meantime he will cool his heels in jail. His passport will be handed back to Kenyan authorities.

Kenya and China have no bilateral arrangement to exchange prisoners. So, he may spend the rest of his life in prison there.

SOURCE-nation.co.ke

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A US church depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph as detained refugees

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Baby Jesus is lying in a manger inside a cage, wrapped in an emergency foil blanket and separated from Mary and Joseph, who are each trapped in cells of their own.

This is the startling nativity scene created by a Protestant church in California to draw attention to the plight of migrants.

“We put them in different cages, as a symbol representing our community, and all immigrants, who are being held in detention centers and need our help,” Genaro Cordoba, co-creator of the installation and spokesman for Claremont United Methodist Church, said.

“Jesus, Joseph, Mary represent all our immigrants, all the refugees, not just in the United States but all over the world,” he said, switching from Spanish to English.

“We have seen how they suffer, and people don’t want them, and (in) our country the same thing,” Cordoba added.

Karen Clark Ristine, senior minister at the church about 48 kilometers east of Los Angeles, explained in a Facebook message accompanying the images that the Holy Family were “the most well-known refugee family in the world.”

“Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant,” she wrote.

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“They feared persecution and death. What if this family sought refuge in our country today?”

The grim Nativity scene appears to address that question.

Each cell is lined with barbed wire, and both Mary and Joseph are pictured facing the infant, their arms outstretched in hope and desperation.

“Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center as more than 5,500 children have been the past three years,” wrote Ristine.

A Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy launched in 2018 saw thousands of children separated from their parents at the border, a tactic apparently meant to frighten the families, before the government backed down.

Migrants including children were held in caged enclosures.

“Jesus grew up to teach us kindness and mercy and a radical welcome of all people,” said Ristine.

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A Nairobi Catholic church bans miniskirts, rugged jeans

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A church in Nairobi has warned its members against wearing ‘inappropriate’ attire to church.

St Peter Claver’s Catholic Church, which is located in the city centre, has put a huge sign at the entrance of the church, warning congregants to dress modestly.

Some of the attire banned include dresses with slits, rugged jeans, miniskirts, t-shirts inscribed ‘Red Devil’, crop tops, caps, sun glasses, chains, clothing that exposes arms and sagged trousers.

It is not clear what would happen to congregants who break the rules as efforts by the Nation to get comments from administrators of the church were unsuccessful.

The sign outside the church. PHOTO | SAMMY KIMATU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Rosalia Alexis supported the move by the church saying that people should wear appropriately for every occasion.

“What you wear to a dance hall or disco should not be the same as what you wear in church,” she said.

But Alex Muinde, 26, had a contrary opinion saying that everyone is free to dress according to their personal preferences and the church should not control what congregants w

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‘My business is on the verge of collapse, please give me back my house’ Pleads Sarah Cohen

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Tob Cohen’s wife Sarah Wairimu wants her house back, the whole compound and all its contents, including her dogs, cars, personal effects and kitchen appliances, among other things.

Wairimu also says that their business Tobs Ltd will collapse if she will not be allowed to go back to her house, where the company is operated from.

But, Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti has challenged the application by Wairimu, saying that Cohen’s house is marked as the primary scene of crime and forensic analysis and investigations are still ongoing.

“If handed over to Sarah, there is a possibility that she will interfere with the crime scene,” Muteti said.

He said that any assets belonging to Cohen or jointly owned by the two, even their dogs, are issues that cannot be ruled by that court.

Muteti said that the court is not a succession court to rule what assets belonged to the deceased and Sarah.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Why many Kenyans who go to study abroad never come back
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