Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

A Kenyan court has released on bail a woman whose husband is accused of being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people.

Rhoda Maweu, who is married to cult leader and self-styled pastor Paul Mackenzie, had been in custody for 62 days.

But when it came to Mr Mackenzie himself, along with 16 other co-accused, the court ruled that they should remain in custody for another 30 days.

Lawyers have been arguing whether it is legal for police to hold the suspects for so long, but the magistrate says their continued detention is justified because it’s in the public interest.

At least 339 people linked to the Good News International Church are believed to have either starved themselves to death, were badly beaten or strangled at the Shakahola Forest in south-eastern Kenya.

The Kenya Red Cross says 600 people are still missing.

The state pointed out that the investigations were yet to be concluded, and that the hunger strike staged by the suspects in custody had slowed the process.

The suspects’ lawyer, Wycliffe Makasembo, further said that the prosecution and the police were on a fishing expedition: with no idea of the likely charges and whether they will charge the respondents. Two other lawyers for the suspects have recused themselves.

The next hearing will be on 1 August.

By Joy

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