Pastor Mackenzie, 28 co-suspects in Shakahola cult to remain in custody until December

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 21 Nov, 2023 10:19 | 2 mins read
Pastor Mackenzie, 28 co-suspects in Shakahola cult to remain in custody until December
Shakahola cult suspects in court. PHOTO/ODPP(@ODPP_KE)/X

Controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie and 28 co-suspects in the Shakahola cult deaths will remain in custody for another month awaiting a ruling on the State's application seeking to have them held for six more months.

A Shanzu court is expected to deliver the ruling on the application on December 22.

In the application, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Jami Yamina has listed several compelling reasons for the detention of the suspects pending completion of investigations into the cult that claimed more than 400 lives in Kilifi.

She argues that the respondents pose a suicide risk and detention is the least restrictive measure pending the completion of investigations and charges.

"The terrorism laws allow for up to 360 days of lawful detention pending completion of investigations and that parliament, in its wisdom, extended the days from 90 days to 360 days to accommodate complex cases," the DPP argues.

Yesterday, Jami also opposed the release of six out of the 29 Shakahola suspects as recommended in the social inquiry reports conducted by the Probation and Aftercare Services department.

Jami told Shanzu senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda that the suspects are required to undergo deradicalization before being reintegrated into the society.

She also argued that family members of the suspects had not provided explanations as to how the six would not harm themselves.

Last month, newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Renson Inganga defended the continued detention of suspects linked to the Shakahola starvation cult.

The DPP said the delay was necessitated by the lengthy process of DNA analysis of the victims.

Ingonga explained that the analysis of the DNA samples collected from the deceased persons remains incomplete with the full report expected in two to three months.

"The continued detention of the suspects is necessitated by the fact that DNA analysis is incomplete and the process is lengthy considering the fact that the number of bodies to be analysed against the number of DNA samples from relatives of the deceased.

"The ODPP is currently awaiting the results of the DNA analysis undertaken by the Government Chemist Department and the reports to be availed between two to three months," the DPP stated.

Mackenzie and his followers have been in custody for over seven months.

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