A family in the Magarini sub-county of Kilifi County has appealed to the governments of Kenya and Italy to investigate the circumstances under which the body organs of a kin who died abroad went missing.
The deceased, 36-year-old Amani Justine, who was married to an Italian national, died in her husband’s home county on September 29, 2022.
The family discovered their kin's body was missing two eyeballs, a heart, kidneys and liver among other vital organs when it was flown to Kenya in October.
Amani was allegedly found dead in her house in Italy with blood stains on her nose and mouth. Her Kenyan family suspects that she did not die of natural causes and wants the two governments to collaborate and provide answers.
It is alleged that Amani had had a frosty relationship with her husband and the couple was on the verge of separating prior to the incident.
A postmortem examination carried out by Dr Job Gayo of the Malindi sub-county hospital on November 3, 2022, could not establish the cause of Amani’s death due to the lack of vital organs.
“The cause of death cannot be determined due to missing organs. The heart, liver, both kidneys and major blood vessels are missing. It appears organ harvesting has been done,” the post-mortem report reads in part.
Amani’s family say she got married to the Italian about 18 years ago and the couple was blessed with a girl aged 15. The deceased had undergone heart surgery before her marriage to the Italian man.
Speaking to journalists at her Mjanaheri home on Wednesday, November 9, Mama Josephine Nzingo Mrima, the mother to the deceased, asked the governments of Kenya and Italy to investigate the death and pro-vide answers before the body can be buried.
She claimed that her daughter’s husband, whom she declined to name, did not inform the Kenyan family that Amani had died, and that the man only allowed the body to be flown to Kenya following the intervention of the Kenyan Embassy in Italy.
“Amani’s husband confirmed the death of his wife to us after we asked him following an alert from another family. He told us that the body would be taken to church for prayers and then be cremated, something we objected to because in our culture, we do not cremate bodies,” she said.
She said that the family was told not to open the coffin to view the body when it arrived at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
However, when they transported the body to Malindi, family members insisted and the coffin, which was sealed with nails, was opened. That is then that they discovered that something was wrong with the body and reported the matter to criminal investigation officers in Marereni.
“I call upon the governments of Kenya and Italy to assist us in knowing the cause of my daughter’s death and arrest the culprits who could have been involved in her death,” she said.
James Karisa Luwali, the brother of the deceased, said that when the coffin was opened they found the body had been sewn in several areas while the eyes looked fake.
“We are calling upon the government of Kenya to collaborate with that of Italy and give us answers. We want to know where the vital organs of my sister are. We do not know whether they were sold or donated, and who gave the consent to do so,” he said.
Matthew Shipeta of human rights organisation Haki Africa called for proper investigations into Amani’s death and the disappearance of her internal organs.
“As human rights defenders, we suspect foul play because her internal organs that would have assisted the pathologist to establish the cause of death are missing. We want investigations to be car-ried out so that the family gets justice,” he said.