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Case against 22 Kikuyu elders arrested at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga withdrawn

The Case against 22 persons who had been arrested at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine on December 31, on suspicion that they were members of the outlawed Mungiki sect has been withdrawn as entreated by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP).

In a ruling made by the Senior Principal Magistrate Edwin Nyaga at Murang’a Law Courts on February 28, the case has been withdrawn under section 81(a) of the criminal procedure code.

However, the lawyers of the accused, led by senior counsel Martha Karua, have expressed dissatisfaction at the withdrawal saying they will consider other legal avenues to ensure the accused get justice for the violation of their rights as enshrined in the constitution.

Karua argued that withdrawing the case under section 81(a) sets precedent that other people can be arrested and arraigned in court under similar circumstances.

The 22 were arrested while they were supposedly performing end of year prayers and part of the evidence against them was Muratina, a traditional ritual stick and a fly whisk.

“Although the case has been withdrawn the Kikuyu people will be living in fear of being arrested when they practice their freedom of worship,” Karua said,

“No community should be profiled for practicing the rights protected by the constitution and we are going to fight the criminalisation of the Kikuyu culture and any other culture,” she said,

The prosecution, on its part, said the ODPP was withdrawing the case because there was no prospect of conviction as the evidence against the accused is insufficient.

“These charges were preferred on the basis of the threshold test, whereby the prosecution expected additional evidence to be furnished by the investigating agency. This evidence has not been furnished, and therefore, we do not intend to pursue the prosecution of the accused persons,” the prosecution said.

They also wanted to withdraw the case on public interest grounds and particularly the ages of the accused as a majority of them are elderly citizens.

By Purity Mugo

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