NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 3 – A 25-year-old student jailed for up to two years in January after admitting to insulting President Uhuru Kenyatta on Facebook has been released on appeal.
Lawyer Edward Oonge, acting on behalf of the fourth year Moi University student Allan Wadi, had argued that his client was not in the right frame of mind when he pleaded guilty to the charge of insulting the Head of State.
When Wadi pleaded to the charge, he claimed mental incompetence, “I am insane and would want to meet President Uhuru and apologise in person,” he told the court.
Oonge argued that “the very least,” the sitting magistrate should have done following that admission was to order a mental evaluation before entering the plea.
“I might not agree with some of the things these bloggers write but they have the same rights as anyone else,” Oonge told Capital FM News.
In agreement, Justice Luka Kimaru found that Wadi’s admission of guilt was, “not unequivocal,” before ordering his release.
He also found a two year sentence excessive.
Resident Magistrate Ann Kaguru had sentenced Wadi to a year in prison for insulting President Kenyatta and fined him Sh200,000 which if he failed to pay would cost him another year in prison.
Wadi was accused of posting a series of hateful messages against President Kenyatta and the Kikuyu on Facebook between December 18 and 19.
He was later arrested, police claim, while trying to flee into Uganda.