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Human rights activist Edwin Kiama during a court session on April 8, 2021/CFM

Kenya

Activist arrested for slurring President Uhuru over IMF loan freed on Sh500,000 cash bail

Edwin Kiama who was arrested on Tuesday was freed on a Sh500,000 cash bail after a spirited defense by his lawyers who included former Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua and city lawyer Harun Ndubi.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – A human rights activist arrested over a viral poster petitioning lenders not to engage President Uhuru Kenyatta on loans on the nation’s behalf was on Thursday freed by a magistrate court in Nairobi after spending two nights in police cells.

Edwin Kiama who was arrested on Tuesday was freed on a Sh500,000 cash bail after a spirited defense by his lawyers who included former Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua and city lawyer Harun Ndubi.

Senior Resident Magistrate Jane Kamau declined to grant the State fourteen to conclude an ongoing investigation, instead asking Kiama to report to investigators daily for the next ten days.

She pointed out that since police have taken his phone, laptops and other electronic gadgets, they can carry out the investigation without the suspect being detained.

The magistrate however warned the suspect against tweeting on issues touching on government funding and to respect the institution of presidency.

 Kiama is being investigated on account of information he posted on his tweeter account on April 5 warning the International Monetary Fund not to advance loans to the government under President Kenyatta.

His bail ruling was delayed on Wednesday after the magistrate said she needed more time to consider the submissions presented to court by both the defense and prosecution to enable her make an informed decision.

The prosecution had told the court the suspect, if released, was likely to interfere with the ongoing investigation.

However in a quick rejoinder, the suspects Ndubi told the court that the State had not demonstrated how the suspect would interfere with the witnesses yet police were holding his mobile gadget for investigation.

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Ndubi said the prosecution had not given compelling reasons to hold the suspect for fourteen days.

The matter will be mentioned on April 20 to confirm the progress of investigations.

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