Mackenzie, co-accused to stay in custody for another month
Controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie and 27 co-accused will remain in custody for another one month awaiting the court’s decision whether to prolong their detention for another six months.
The suspected cult leader who is being accused of influencing his followers to starve themselves to death, has been in and out of the Shanzu Courts since May 2, 2023, when he was ferried from Malindi following the closure of a file in which he and six others were facing charges of terrorism and genocide.
Yesterday, a Shanzu court set the determination of the hearing of an application filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to continue holding the suspected cult leader and his 28 associates for 180 days to be heard on December 22.
The matter had been filed on September 18 before Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda, who allowed the defense counsel more time to prepare responses to the new application.
“We have agreed that 22nd December is the appropriate date, since I will be away on leave, I also grant Makasembo to meet his clients for one hour at the Shanzu prison as requested,” said Shikanda.
The lawyer had requested to have a one-on-one conversation with his clients inside the prison.
During his responses yesterday, Makasembo told the court that his client’s detention was a violation of his fundamental rights and amounts to torture.
Makasembo accused the DPP of seeking to have his client detained for 180 days, saying there is nothing more to investigate since the matter had overstayed in court. He wants them charged with any offence or be released.
“The investigating officers have found nothing more to charge Mackenzie with so what they are doing is torturing him. Stop wasting time and charge Mackenzie or release him,” he said.
According to Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jami Yamina, the accused are a threat and should, therefore, stay in custody.
At the same time, the DPP said the DNA analysis from the bodies that have so far been exhumed will take a longer time.
“It has emerged that the scientific process of identification of the bodies will take at the very least an additional six months (180 days) to complete,” he said.
“Such evidence constitutes crucial and material evidence necessary to identify victims and deceased persons for better particularization of the charges, case presentation and the delivery of justice.”
Mackenzie and the co-accused are facing several charges including terrorism, murder, counselling and aiding suicide, abduction, radicalization, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud, and money laundering.
However, they are yet to be formally charged.