Autopsy confirms Kenyan activist died of abortion complications

By AT editor - 14 February 2019 at 8:34 pm
Autopsy confirms Kenyan activist died of abortion complications

The results of a post-mortem examination completed Thursday in the death of Kenyan human rights activist Caroline Mwatha Ochieng are consistent with excessive bleeding following complications of an attempted abortion.

Amnesty International in Kenya said they are accepting the results of the examination, which followed street protests in the Dandora community of Nairobi served by Mwatha, and concerns from family and friends who said the story didn’t add up.

“The cause of death is not in dispute, and further investigations and the court case will reveal the circumstances behind her death,” the organization said, thanking those who pressed for an autopsy.

“Caroline Mwatha did not go to that clinic to die,” Amnesty added. “She joins hundreds of women and girls that die from unsafe abortions every day. We will honor her memory, courage and commitment to protecting her Dandora community.”

Mwatha was reported missing on February 9, when her husband – working in Dubai – was unable to reach her and friends found only the couple’s daughter at home. By then, she was already dead and her body was in the city morgue, where it had been listed under the incorrect name of Carol Mbeki since last Thursday.

Police in Kenya have arrested six people in connection with Mwatha’s disappearance and death, including Alexander Gitau Gikonya. Gikonya was identified by George Kinoti, Kenya’s Director of Criminal Investigations, as a close associate of Mwatha, who was five months pregnant.

The two discussed abortion plans in their messages, police said, and Gikonya arranged for payment for the procedure.

Authorities believe she died at a clinic in the New Njiru Community Center in Dandora – the same part of Nairobi where Mwatha co-founded her justice center. Those arrested also include Betty Akinyi Nyanya, the owner of the clinic; her son, Richard Ramoya Abudo; and Michael “Dr. Mike” Onchiri, who police say was responsible for the botched procedure alongside Nyanya.

Abortions in Kenya are legal only in cases where a medical professional determines a risk to the life or health of the woman, and in emergency situations.

Image: Dandora Community Justice Center

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