Kenyan MPs charged with hate speech

June 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – An Assistant Minister and two Members of Parliament have been charged with hate speech and incitement to violence.

Roads Assistant Minister Wilfred Machage and Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi faced five counts of hate speech while Cherangany legislator Joshua Kutuny was separately accused of incitement to violence.

Mr Kutuny was accused of committing the offence on unknown dates in May this year in Trans Nzoia.

Mr Machage, Mr Kapondi and political activist Christine Miller were accused of hate speech on June 10 in Upper Hill. Ms Miller also faced a separate charge of incitement to violence.

Police applied to the court to remand the MPs in custody to give them time to conclude the probe since they were only arrested a day before they were arraigned in court.

Their lawyers led by Katwa Kigen objected to the application by the State saying police had time to investigate the offences which were allegedly committed on June 10.

“There is no reason why they should be held for more days. Police have had time to investigate the offence before rushing the accused persons to court,” Mr Kigen said.

The MPs also applied to the court to order the police to release their phones which were confiscated after their arrest.

Police however objected to the release of the phones saying they are part of the exhibits they intend to rely on during the trial.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei set Mr Machage, Mr Kapondi and Ms Christine Miller free on a cash bail of Sh100,000 each while Mr Kutuny was asked to pay a cash bail of Sh200,000.

The four have been directed to report to CID Headquarters when required until June 21 when their case is due back in court.

In rejecting a request by the police to detain the accused for three more days, Mr Mutembei said that he didn’t find sufficient reason to hold them in custody any longer.

He did not order the release of the MPs\’ mobile phones since they are part of the exhibits to be used in their trial.


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