Death of Caroline Mwatha

On 6 February 2019, 37-year-old Caroline Mwatha Ochieng’, a Kenyan human rights activist and founder of the Dandora Community Center (which investigates and documents cases of police killings in Dandora), went missing.[1] Her body was found in Nairobi's City mortuary on 12 February where it had been registered under a different name. Police reports established that she had died on 7 February.[2][3] A post-mortem examination determined that she died due to exsanguination. The bleeding was caused by a rupture at the rear of her uterus, reportedly as the result of an unsafe abortion. The remains of a male fetus were still in the womb, minus a hand.[4]

Caroline Mwatha

DeathEdit

Her father and husband told reporters that they did not believe police reports, since they were unaware that she had been pregnant.[5] Patrick Gathara of The Washington Post noted skepticism was warranted, since police had been involved with covering up the murders of human rights defenders in the past.[6] A second, independent autopsy confirmed the cause of death.[7] Amnesty International Kenya stated: "If Mwatha was not killed by State execution, she was killed by a system that allows crude abortion clinics to exist for its failure to provide safe abortion services."[8]

Aftermath of deathEdit

Memorial services were held on 21 February at Uhuru Park's Freedom Corner. They were attended by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, politician Martha Karua and Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris.[8] A Requiem Mass was refused by the Catholic Church because of its opposition to abortion.[9] The funeral was on 23 February in Asembo Bay, Siaya County near her family's home.[10] She is survived by her two children and a husband.[8]

Eight people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the abortion, which is illegal in Kenya unless the mother's life is at risk.[7] The clinic where the procedure was performed was not licensed to operate.[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Kenyans mourn rights activist Caroline Mwatha". Africanews. 13 February 2019. Archived from the original on 17 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  2. ^ Maina, Kamore (12 February 2019). "Body of missing Dandora activist Caroline Mwatha found at City Mortuary". The Star, Kenya. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b Githae, Wanjohi; Merab, Elizabeth (13 February 2019). "Mwatha's death: Clinic not registered". Daily Nation. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  4. ^ Mutanu, Bernardine (15 February 2019). "This is what killed Caroline Mwatha — pathologist". Daily Nation. Archived from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  5. ^ Ouko, Gordon; Kimani, Trizza (14 February 2019). "Claims of Caroline's failed abortion 'hollow, not true'". The Star, Kenya. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  6. ^ Gathara, Patrick (13 February 2019). "Opinion | What the unspeakable tragedy of Caroline Mwatha reveals about Kenya". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b Oneko, Sella; Daball, Melanie Cura (13 February 2019). "Autopsy finds Kenyan activist died during abortion attempt". Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Kahongeh, James (23 February 2019). "Caroline Mwatha to be buried today". Daily Nation. Archived from the original on 22 August 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  9. ^ Nyawira, Lyndsay (22 February 2019). "Anti-abortion: Catholic Church declines to hold requiem Mass for Caroline Mwatha". The Star, Kenya. Archived from the original on 23 February 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019. hold requiem Mass
  10. ^ "Caroline Mwatha tribute concert happening in Dandora". Nairobi News. 17 February 2019. Archived from the original on 26 February 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.