Kenya: missionaries issue clemency plea for men who killed priest

Fr Giuseppe Bertaina IMC

Fr Giuseppe Bertaina IMC

The Consolata Missionaries have issued a statement protesting over the death sentence verdicts delivered by Lady Justice Jessie Lessite in the High Court of Nairobi, Kenya to two men found guilty of murdering Fr Giuseppe Bertaina IMC, aged 81, on 19 January 2009.

While the Consolatas said they appreciated the speed in which the case had been solved, if Fr Giuseppe's killers were executed, it be be "an offence to his memory".

In an official statement, Superior Fr Aquiléo Fiorentini and the Council of the Consolate Missionary Institute said:

1. We consider it a positive step that the High Court has taken into consideration and solved this case, contrary to what happened in similar cases never solved like the murders of Fr Michele Stallone IMC killed at Loyangallani in 1965, Fr Luigi Graiff IMC killed at Parkati (Baragoi) in 1981, Fr Luigi Andeni IMC killed at Archer’s Post in 1998 and Bishop Luigi Locati IMC of Isiolo killed in 2005, just to name a few.

2. The Superior General, however, has already sent for filing, in the High Court of Nairobi, a letter in which he requests that the death sentence pronounced by the court against the two persons considered guilty of the murder of our confrere, Fr Giuseppe Bertaina should not be carried out but rather commuted at most to life imprisonment. As Christians, and even more as missionaries, we are totally against the death penalty, as we are also against every feeling and act of violence.

3. We also consider that, if the death sentence were to be carried out, this would be a great offence to the memory of Fr Giuseppe Bertaina, who spent all his existence for the life and promotion of the people of Kenya, working with passion and generosity for the formation of several generations of students. It is because of this commitment for life that he met his death and he could not desire anything else but redemption and life.

Source: MISNA

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