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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 17:22 GMT
'Dumped foetus' protests in Kenya
By Caroline Karobia
BBC correspondent in Nairobi

The various groups involved in the debate over abortion in Kenya collided on Wednesday outside a Nairobi court.

Remains being buried at a Nairobi cemetery (Pic: Kenyan TV)
The abortion issue has generated heated debate in Kenya
Public opinion has been split over the case of a doctor who has been charged with murder after 15 foetuses were found dumped in the Nairobi river in June.

Dr John Nyamu's case started on Wednesday and some doctors turned up at the courtroom to show their support for him.

But religious leaders and anti-abortion activists also turned up.

'Woman's fault'

Many of them wore black and red T-shirts with slogans condemning the legalisation of abortion, which is currently illegal in Kenya.

"We are going there to listen because the act he is suspected of is evil," said one protestor. "We are not condemning him, we are condemning the act."

The court is not going to be intimidated
Judge
The pro-life protestors collided with a group of doctors and nurses dressed in white medical coats.

"We are always blamed. It is the woman who is doing it - not us," said one of the doctors.

The doctors criticised the decision to charge Dr Nyamu with murder - a charge which carries the death penalty - and not the lesser charge of performing an abortion, which is punishable with a jail term.

There was a heated debate between the doctors and the faith-led group in the court.

"The court is not going to be intimidated," the judge told the protestors.

Post-abortion complications

The case has been adjourned until Thursday.

Dr Nyamu - who ran two reproductive health clinics in Nairobi - was arrested with two nurses five months ago.

The three have been charged with murdering two foetuses - a boy and a girl.

The foetuses were among 15 foetuses found dumped in refuse bags last June.

The issue of abortion in Kenya is sensitive. Religious people and the Catholic Church condemn abortion, while a few female MPs and some doctors are calling for the law to be changed.

According to research, more than 2,500 women die in Kenya each year because of post-abortion complications.




SEE ALSO:
Charges in 'dumped foetus' case
15 Jun 04 |  Africa


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