What you need to know:
- The three men are accused of being in a mob that lynched Mr Fredrick Kaini (70), Mr Samuel Mwamba (72), and Mr Zachariah Kaburu (68) last Wednesday.
A court on Monday allowed police to continue holding for seven days, three men accused of lynching three elderly persons over witchcraft claims in Gitine Village, Meru County.
Nkubu Senior Resident Magistrate Ezra Ayuka said the allegations against Mr Collins Mwiti (22), Mr Morris Mwiti (25) and Mr Dennis Mwiti (20) were serious and that a week in police custody would not adversely affect them.
Mr Ayuka also agreed with State Counsel Antony Mwangi, who said police needed more time to conclude the investigation.
The suspects will be held at Nkubu Police Station until next Monday.
The three men are accused of being in a mob that lynched Mr Fredrick Kaini (70), Mr Samuel Mwamba (72), and Mr Zachariah Kaburu (68) last Wednesday.
Dennis is a student at the Meru National Polytechnic while the other two are training to be motorcyclists.
Mr Mwangi told the court that the post mortem on the bodies of the three elderly people had not been conducted and that it would be wrong for the court to set the accused free.
He also said he was aware of the fact that the Constitution barred police from holding suspects for more than 24 hours without arraigning them, and thus sought the intervention of the court so as to complete the probe.
“Seven days will not be prejudicial to these suspects, and it would be fair and just for the suspects to be detained to await investigations to be completed,” said Mr Mwangi.
Lawyer Boniface Njiru, for Collins and Dennis protested, saying the police had already broken the law by failing to arraign the suspects for the five days they had been in custody.
“They were arrested last Thursday and have been in custody all through, even during the weekend. That was adequate time for the police to have conducted their investigations and then arraigned them,” he said.
"The court should not assist in violation of the accused’s rights, and the rights to be set free on terms that are acceptable to the court.”
Mr Njiru further noted that the suspects were young, and urged the court to be lenient.
The magistrate assured the three that their rights would be protected but noted that since the allegation of murder was weighty, it would be proper to allow the application.
“The court is alive to the nature and magnitude of the offence they are alleged to have committed, which is a capital offence. I have also noted that they were arrested on Thursday last week. The investigating officer has indicated that the bodies of the deceased are yet to undergo a post mortem. I find that the time is reasonable,” he said in the ruling.
The case will be mentioned on June 14.