Kenya: Edwin Chiloba murder suspect fit for trial

Jackton Odhiambo is accused of murdering Edwin Chiloba

Jackton Odhiambo and Edwin Chiloba (Pic: Instagram)

Jackton Odhiambo will stand trial for the murder of his partner, Edwin Chiloba, while four other suspects have been released.

The body of the 25-year-old model, fashion designer and activist was found stuffed into a metal box on the side of the road near the town of Eldoret in Uasin Gishu county on 3 January. His murder made global headlines, with many initially assuming that his death was a hate crime.

An autopsy revealed that Chiloba died from asphyxia. Socks had been stuffed into his mouth and a scrap from a pair of jeans had been tied around his mouth and nose.

Police later arrested five individuals, including Odhiambo, in connection with Chiloba’s murder. It was claimed that the freelance photographer had confessed to the murder, apparently because he believed Chiloba had cheated on him.

Odhiambo re-appeared in the High Court in the town of Eldoret this week, where he pleaded not guilty to Chiloba’s killing, telling the judge, “I did not murder.”

According to the National Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Odhiambo has undergone a mental health assessment and was found fit to stand trial.

The four other suspects, three of which are minors, arrested in connection with the Edwin Chiloba murder have since been released due to lack of evidence.

The minors were, however, instructed to report to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations’ offices once a month for the next three months.

Activists say the case has highlighted the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people in reporting intimate partner violence, especially in countries like Kenya, where homosexuality is criminalised.

Odhiambo is expected to apply for bail, which the prosecution and Chiloba’s family lawyer have confirmed they will oppose. The next court hearing is set for 16 February.

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