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Kenya | Feb 14, 2019

Kenyan Activist Died Of Botched Abortion - Autopsy Finds

AFP
When Caroline Mwatha went missing, Amnesty International raised the alarm given her work lobbying against extra-judicial killings by police.  By SIMON MAINA (AFP)
When Caroline Mwatha went missing, Amnesty International raised the alarm given her work lobbying against extra-judicial killings by police. By SIMON MAINA (AFP)

A Kenyan rights activist who died in circumstances her family deemed suspicious, fell victim to a botched abortion, said an independent autopsy Thursday which corroborated a police version of events.

Caroline Mwatha went missing last Wednesday, prompting Amnesty International to raise the alarm given her sensitive work lobbying against extra-judicial killings by police.

Police said Tuesday her body had been found at a Nairobi mortuary, and that investigations revealed "the intended abortion of a five-month old pregnancy".

Abortion is illegal in Kenya unless the life of the woman is in danger.

On Wednesday, Mwatha's family had questioned the police explanation.

"We have never seen Caro with a pregnancy, she was not pregnant, how can she have been aborting?" her father Stanslus Mbai told journalists at the mortuary.

"It is puzzle to us. Very strange because I have looked at the body. She has a deep cut on the thigh and stomach, is that abortion?"

Mbai said he had received a missed call from his daughter's number during the time she was reportedly already dead. "A lot is not adding up, this is a cover up," he said, while demanding an independent post mortem.

On Thursday, the pathologist who carried out the autopsy, told journalists Mwatha had been about five- to six months pregnant.

"Cause of death is bleeding due to ruptured uterus due to surgical interference which was not successful in removing the foetus," said Peter Muriuki Ndegwa.

He had been hired at the family's request by the Independent Medico Legal Unit, a non-government organisation that offers free legal aid to victims and lobbies against extrajudicial police killings.

The family, Ndegwa added, "is satisfied with the autopsy" result.

According to Marie Stopes International, which provides contraception and safe abortion services worldwide, seven women die of botched abortions in Kenya every day.

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