Kenya: Church calls for fresh probe after court finds Fr Kaiser was murdered

A Catholic missionary priest, Fr. Anthony John Kaiser whose body was recovered in Naivasha seven years ago, was murdered, a court in Nairobi has ruled.

Giving her ruling after a four-year public inquest in which 111 witnesses testified, Nairobi Chief Magistrate Maureen Odero said that despite claims that Fr Kaiser was mentally unstable and committed suicide, no tangible evidence was tabled in court to back the claims.

"This court has no hesitation concluding that based on the facts availed before it, Fr Kaiser met his death as a result of culpable homicide in the hands of a third party," the magistrate said on Wednesday in a 72-page ruling. The packed courtroom included a Catholic bishop, several missionaries, Fr Kaiser's family, friends and human rights activists.

The magistrate, however, said she could not - on the basis of evidence tabled before her in the inquest - point out with certainty who the priest,s killers were. "This court, therefore, recommends that fresh investigations be immediately instituted by the police in order to fill the blanks . . . in order to determine conclusively the identity of those who killed Fr Kaiser."

Reacting to the ruling, Bishop Peter Kairo of Nakuru Diocese, also the chair of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), said that the church was happy that the truth had finally come out. "But the government should still launch investigations so that the exact killers are known," he told CISA.

Lawyer Mbuthi Gathenji for the Catholic Church said that the police should save face by launching immediate investigations into the death.

The body of Fr Kaiser a Mill Hill Priest who had served Kenya for almost 40 years was found on the morning of August 24, 2000, at the Morendat junction on the Nakuru-Naivasha highway. His head was partly blown off with a shotgun, which lay nearby. Kenya's chief government pathologist and a pathologist from an independent human rights organization present at the autopsy thought Fr Kaiser was killed from a muzzle distance of about three feet. However, FBI experts, who did not examine Fr Kaiser's body, concluded that Kaiser had committed suicide on the basis of photographs and interviews with a few people.

Source: CISA

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