Tom Cholmondeley

Pretty much all of you know that I am part of the Team Tom lot who run www.justicefortom.com.

Today is the penultimate day for Tom in court in Nairobi. Throughout today and tomorrow, the Defence and Prosecution will sum up the case and then the Assessors will deliberate before making their recommendation to the judge. Thereafter the judge will deliberate and – hopefully fairly swiftly – pronounce his judgment.

Lord knows why I feel such a train wreck, it is hardly my life on the line, nor me who has been suffering – but I guess when you are so close to a situation, the constant adrenaline spikes and troughs just get to you. Today I feel absolutely drained, no idea how Tom or his family and friends in Kenya are feeling but thank goodness we are at the end of what has been pretty much proven to be a travesty.

Should you be interested in the actual case itself, then the court transcripts are published on the site here: http://justicefortom.com/defence/

Fingers crossed this will all be over shortly. I have been to Kamiti Prison to see Tom a few times and every time I am rocked to the core by what the remandees and prisoners have to survive. I am still reeling from my most recent visit – I shall spare you the details; but if one does indeed judge a society by the way it treats its prisoners (let’s ignore the remandees for now) then this Nation needs to have a good hard look at itself.

For the next two days Tom will be in my thoughts, and I hope in the thoughts of those of you who have been affected by this case – although I suspect the time when he most needs our thoughts and prayers will be during the interminable wait for the final judgment.

My thoughts and all love also to Sally Dudmesh (Tom’s love), Lord and Lady Delamere (his ‘rents) and everyone at Jersey Hall who desperately want Tom back.

7 responses

  1. As you said about nations so it is for people…If one were to judge people by the way they treat others(and their attitude to these others) some of you need to have a good hard look at yourselves!

    What about the victims? Don’t they deserve justice?

  2. Indeed this is true. In my opinion, based on the evidence I have seen, the fragment of the bullet that killed Njoya could not have come from Tom’s gun. Ref the forensic pathologist.

    However, this was not my point, my point is that the conditions the prisoners in Kamiti are currently living in are abysmal – whatever they did or did not do.

  3. I will confine my comments to Kamiti Prison, seeing as the case has and continues to elicit very emotive reactions because of the inequalities that exist in Kenya in terms of wealth/lack of it; land/lack of it…all in a backdrop of colonialism and its legacy. Of course, there are those who will argue that we all need to get over colonialism, but it has only been 45 years after all.
    And Kamiti is a fine example of that colonial legacy, having been built as Kamiti Downs by the colonial administration. Initially meant for only 1400 inmates, it now houses about 3 times that, and the conditions are not only deplorable, but near-impossible. Especially for the poor.
    The truth is, conditions inside Kamiti reflect society- those who are wealthy are well treated, those without it are not. Period. Tom even has access to his legal team, because they work for Kaplan, one of the biggest law firms in the country. Other inmates do not. (see here http://kenya740.tripod.com/kamiti.html). Unfortunately, half of the people in Kamiti are innocent, and they end up brutalized, raped, tortured. This is no different from other prisons worldwide, and prison discourse in the US for instance is rife with people being other men’s ‘bitches’ as soon as the gates close behind them. The difference with Kamiti is the lack of water, lack of basic hygiene, lack of a prison policy, lack of proper wardens well trained and properly paid to do their job. That is Kenya’s burden. The postcolony, only 45 years old, has struggled to get in step with the modern world of high technology and infrastructure, and prisons are at the bottom of the priority list. Is this a justification? No, not when government leaders splash out on expensive cars, expensive houses, and shopping trips for their wives and girlfriends to Oxford Street. But then, victims of the postelection violence are still living in camps whose conditions read like those in Kamiti.
    Tom is probably not eating his meals from unwashed plates in Kamiti, or sharing a cell with 30 other people, some of them dead in the night and undergoing rigor mortis. But that will be small consolation to his friends and family who want to see a quick denouement to this case. At the end of the day, this entire story is the story of Kenya’s Justice System, which needs a quick revamping with no excuses- not even shopping trips or colonialism.

  4. Emma

    The Justice for Tom website has been down for a bit, does this mean that Tom has been freed or that there is some sort of a computer glitch?

    Micky

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