Four suspects accused of lynching four women on suspicion of witchcraft will be detained for 14 days to allow police to complete investigations.
The four were arrested on Monday evening after a major public outcry following killing of the women on Sunday.
Amos Nyakundi Ondieki, Chrispine Ogeto Mokua, Peter Angweny Kwang’a, Ronald Ombati Onyonka were then arraigned before Senior Resident Magistrate Paul Mutai at the Kisii Law Courts on Tuesday.
The women were reportedly picked from their homes in Marani Sub-County, frog-marched to their lynching grounds and set on fire as members of the public cheered.
The magistrate ordered that the suspects be detained for 10 days at Rioma Police Station to allow for investigations.
This was against the prosecution’s request to have the accused persons detained for 14 days.
But Mr Shaffin Kaba, an advocate for the four suspects, objected to the application saying the prosecution had not availed any charge sheet for the case before court.
“They do not even have a holding charge...None whatsoever to substantiate claims by prosecution. Also, there are no statements recorded by investigators. They are just acting on suspicion so there is no basis to hold the suspects,” said Mr Kaba.
He further said that the suspects are young men and that holding them for long will prejudice their life and work.
“The accused persons have a right to be released on bond, unless there are compelling reasons for them not to be released. But the prosecution has not given any indications,” said the lawyer.
He explained that 14 days as requested by the prosecution was too much given that mental assessments and post-mortems take a day.
But the prosecution said the matter was of public interest and that the detention is for the suspects’ own safety.
The magistrate said he had considered arguments from both sides.
“Considering the gravity of the matter and the seriousness of the offence, I direct that the accused persons be detained for 10 days pending conclusion of investigations,” said the magistrate.
He ordered that they be held at Rioma police station.
Mention is set for October 29, 2021 when the court will give further directions.