Kenyan nurse gets death penalty for abortion

A Kenya woman in hospital being treated for complications after having an illegal abortion
Image caption Thousands of Kenya women are treated in hospitals each year for complications from unsafe abortions

A Kenyan nurse has been sentenced to death after being found guilty of carrying out an abortion five years ago on a woman who later bled to death.

Abortions are illegal in Kenya, but a doctor is allowed to perform one if a woman's life is in danger.

Witnesses told the high court that Jackson Namunya Tali had agreed to help the woman, Christine Atieno, who wanted to terminate her early pregnancy.

But Tali said Ms Atieno had sought help after a botched abortion elsewhere.

Thousands of women in Kenya are treated each year for complications after unsafe abortions - a survey last year put the figure in 2012 at 120,000.

The court heard that Ms Atieno had died in Tali's vehicle as he was taking her from the clinic in Gachie, 15km (nine miles) west of the capital, Nairobi, to another hospital for more advanced treatment.

She had been bleeding for eight days following the abortion.

Judge Nicholas Ombija said the court had established "that the accused caused the death of the deceased" and convicted him of murder.

Kenya has not carried out a death sentence since 1987.

The BBC's Muliro Telewa in Nairobi says campaigners tried unsuccessfully to get abortion legalised when Kenya adopted a new constitution in 2010.

Religious leaders fiercely opposed the move, though the law was slightly relaxed.

Three doctors had been needed to certify that an abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother. Now only one doctor is required.

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