A Maasai land rights activist Fred Kariankei, who was arrested last week for writing an offensive ‘tweet’ on his Twitter account, has been freed on a cash bail of Ksh30,000 by a Narok court.
Kariankei, who has been languishing in Mulot police cells for the last 7 days, was being held under police custodial orders with no charges preferred against him and no statement recorded to allow police to carry out more investigations on his Twitter account.
According to the prosecution, Kariankei was arrested in his Lemek home in the presence of his family over what police say was an ‘offending’ tweet about Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) CEO Daniel Sopia.
In his tweet, he questioned the CEO for marrying his female staff as a second wife.
Kariankei appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate George Sagero who turned down a second police miscellaneous application by the prosecution to continue holding Kariankei in police custody for another five days claiming they were carrying out a further forensic examination of his phone.
“We request the court to allow the police to continue holding the suspect in custody for another five days to allow them carry out further forensic investigations on his phone,” court prosecutor Antony Karanja said.
Karanja also gave a reason that the suspect is a flight risk and that if freed would delete the tweet which is under investigation.
But his request was opposed by Kariankei lawyers led by Martine Kamwaro arguing that it was the second application to continue holding his client in police custody after another one last week.
“The accused have been in custody for a long period of time without the hearing taking place and his liberty and constitutional right has been violated,” Kamwaro said.
However, the magistrate agreed with Kamwaro saying there were no compelling reasons why police should continue holding the suspect after the first miscellaneous application was granted last week.
“The first police custodial request was enough for the police, and I hereby release the suspect with a Ksh20,000 bond or Ksh30,000 cash bail, and he should report to Mulot police station weekly until the hearing of this case is complete and determined."