Working from behind the walls of King’ong’o Prison, Nyeri,Â Abdullahi ChuteÂ is a man who has reportedly helped countless fellow inmates get out of jail.
The prisoner who is serving the third year of his twelve-year jail sentence, is a paralegal and theÂ fellow inmates fondly referÂ to him as Wakili (lawyer) according to The Standard.
Convicted of manslaughter, Chute nowÂ helpsÂ other prisoners to draft legal documents such as appeals, protest delays in their cases, or apply for bail.
As aÂ prison paralegal, he also helpsÂ the inmates interpret the courtsâ€™ decisions.
He is also trusted to judge the likely success of appeals beforehand.
He is among the several paralegals trained through a joint initiative between civil society groups, the Kenya Prison Service and the Judiciary to equip inmates and prison officers with legal knowledge.
The primary goal of the initiative was to promote access to justice especially for prisoners who cannot afford lawyers.
“Not everyone who is serving a prison sentence committed an offence. Some have been falsely accused while many are illiterate and poor so they cannot afford lawyers to represent them in court.
“If we knew the law when our cases were on-going, we would have had an easier time,”Â the ‘in-house lawyer’ stated.
According to the Officer in-charge of Nyeri Prison Bison Madegwa, a number of remand prisoners are jailed because they did not know the legal processes.
“We have people here who have been jailed for petty cases that wouldnâ€™t have landed them in court if they knew how to defend themselves.
“The biggest challenge is that they do not know the law so many just write whatever comes to them and when they got to court, it is dismissed due to lack of sufficient grounds,” Madegwa stated.