One of IJM Kenya’s Longest-fought Court Battles Ends in Justice

Content warning: Some readers may find the following content triggering. Please read at your own discretion.

On November 2, 2021, one of the longest-fought court battles that IJM Kenya has handled came to a close. Nearly eight years after little Jalia* was assaulted, the court found her perpetrator guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.


On March 14, 2013, 5-year-old Jalia* was alone in her classroom waiting for her elder brother to pick her up after school when suddenly, a big man appeared in the room.

At first, she was not afraid because she knew the man very well – he was the school owner’s eldest son, who sometimes acted as a part-time teacher, but when he grabbed her and pushed her onto the cold floor, little Jalia was terrified. She tried to free herself from his grip, but she could not.

Afraid for her life, little Jalia cried out, but the man held her mouth, pulled her clothes down and proceeded to abuse her.

Jalia was still crying when her brother arrived and saw what was happening. He immediately called for help. He and several others captured and brought the attacker into police custody. Jalia was taken to the hospital and treated after medical evidence confirmed the abuse. 

On November 2, 2021, nearly eight years after Jalia was assaulted, the court found the perpetrator guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The case was one of the longest-fought court battles that International Justice Mission has handled in Kenya.

IJM Kenya met Jalia in late 2013 after her mother was introduced to the organization by a friend. Then, as the trial delayed for multiple adjournments, Jalia’s chances of receiving justice looked miniscule.

From 2013 – 2021 the long road to justice

All through the years, IJM staff remained dedicated to providing critical support for Jalia and her family. The legal staff worked relentlessly, and supported the state prosecutors to ensure that the case proceeded. The Aftercare staff helped Jalia heal from the trauma and prepared her to testify in court.

In August 2018, Jalia stood on the wooden witness stand to testify against her attacker. When she saw him in court, she just wept. Seeing how much she was affected, the magistrate allowed her to testify through an intermediary and – despite her fear of the perpetrator – eventually, she courageously identified the man who attacked her.

Today, Jalia is 13 years old.  IJM aftercare staff Esther Njuguna is happy that justice has been served.

“This is a huge milestone. It has been so many years of waiting and praying for justice.”

With the attacker behind bars and her caring family on her side, Jalia’s journey of healing is unstoppable.

*a pseudonym and stock image used

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