NAIROBI, Kenya – A Kenyan court on Wednesday sentenced three men to death for stripping naked and abusing a woman during a wave of attacks by mobs claiming that women were inappropriately dressed.
The three men were found guilty of robbery with violence, which carries a death sentence. Kenya's death penalty, by hanging, has not been carried out since 1987 and all such sentences are commuted to life imprisonment.
Most of the series of attacks in 2014 were captured on cell phone video. They prompted protests in Kenya called #MyDressMyChoice.
The victim told the court the three men were among seven on a public bus who tried to rape her but stopped when she said she was HIV-positive.
"They subjected her to humiliation and untold degrading, inhuman treatment," Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi said. The three men pleaded for leniency, asking the court to consider that they had spent three years in custody during the trial.
Attacks on women who are deemed inappropriately dressed are common in some East African countries. Rights groups have said the attacks illustrate an identity crisis: Men claim that women are inappropriately dressed according to African culture, yet some Kenyans on social media have pointed out that many African tribes traditionally wear few or no clothes.