25 August 2005

Kenya: Court Orders Locati Accused to Be Examined

Nairobi — The High Court has ordered that a priest and five others accused of murdering a Catholic bishop be examined by a doctor to prove allegations of torture.

A police doctor will do this in the presence of a doctor of their choice to prove their claims that they were tortured before they were charged.

The late Bishop Locati

Father Guyo Waqo and five others appeared before Mr Justice Milton Makhandia for the mention of their case, in which they are charged with murdering Bishop Luigi Locati in Isiolo on July 14.

The others are Mr Mohamed Bagajo, Mr Aden Mohamed, Mr Mahati Halake, Mr Roba Barichi and Mr Mohamed Wario. All denied the charge when they appeared before Mr Justice Onesmus Mutungi last week.

Yesterday, defence lawyers told the judge their clients had fresh wounds as a result of torture by investigating officers after their arrest.

The six, they said, needed both medical and psychological attention as a result of the torture. They asked the court to order them to be examined by doctors of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit.

They claimed their private parts were injured through beatings, while others were burnt with cigarettes, inflicting wounds on the hands and legs.

It is alleged that one was locked overnight in a mortuary in Meru, where he contracted pneumonia while another was suspended between tables and beaten until he passed out.

Fr Waqo further claims that samples of his blood were taken for DNA analysis after he was accused of fathering children, despite his celibacy vow, and threatened with exposure.

They claimed their rights had been violated by being taken to court long after 14 days had expired, contrary to the law.

State counsel Jacob Ondari said the allegations were not admissible as this was not the first time the accused had appeared in court.

The judge called on both parties to appear before Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal on September 7 for allocation of hearing dates.

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