The Star (Nairobi)

28 February 2013

Kenya: Uhuru to Free 14 Held for Heckling Rival Raila

Jubillee Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday yesterday promised to bail out 14 suspects facing charges of trying to disrupt Prime Minister Raila Odinga's rally.

Uhuru who was speaking in Embu town said the accused were suffering "for no good reason yet they had not been proved guilty".

The 14 were arrested for disrupting a Cord rally at Embu Stadium presided over by the coalitions flagbearer Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka.

They are accused of heckling speakers and pelting listeners with stones on the February 15 rally. "The young men should not worry. I have made arrangements with the governor and the senator for them to be release today," he said

The governor and senator are former Kenya Airport Authority chairman Martin Nyagah Wambora and former Cooperative minister Njeru Ndwiga who are vying for the two posts.

The suspects had initially been released by senior principal magistrate Paul Biwott on Sh250,000 bonds and surety of similar amount each or Sh100,000 cash bail each.

They were however unable to pay and applied for a reduction. Biwott reduced it to Sh100,000 bond and surety of a similar amount or Sh50,0000 bail each but could still not afford it.

On the other hand, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka's pilot has been summoned by Biwott to testify in the case. Prosecutor Frank Mnene has lined up Wachira as the prime witness in the case whose hearing has been going on since Tuesday.

Mnene had requested that the pilot be allowed to testify after the campaigns as he is the VP's only pilot and might not be available immediately.

However, the suspects' lawyer, Joe Kathungu, opposed the request saying his clients are suffering in custody. Biwott ordered that Wachira appear before the court today at 11am or else the prosecution drops its case. He said he will rule whether the suspects will go on trial.

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