Women arrested en route to Somalia to remain in cells

From left: Ms Ummukhayr Sadri Abdulla, Ms Maryam Said Aboud and Ms Khadija Abubakar Abdulkadir when they appeared in a Mombasa court on March 30, 2015. They were not charged, but the court ordered that they be detained for 20 days to allow police to complete investigations into claims that they were arrested on their way to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA |

What you need to know:

  • Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Irene Ruguru allowed police to hold the suspects for three weeks.
  • Ms Ruguru said it was not in dispute that the suspects were arrested while going to Somalia and were likely to leave if released on bond.

  • The magistrate said she had also considered the nature of the investigations and insecurity in the country before making the ruling.

Three women arrested en route to Somalia to allegedly join Al-Shabaab have been remanded for 20 days to allow police to complete investigations.

Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Irene Ruguru on Monday allowed police to hold Ms Khadija Abubakar Abdulkadir, Ms Maryam Said Aboud and Ms Ummulkhayr Sadri Abdulla at Kilindini, Makupa and Nyali police stations, respectively.

Ms Ruguru said it was not in dispute that the suspects were arrested while going to Somalia and were likely to leave if released on bond.

“The right to liberty is not absolute as provided under Article 24 of the Constitution,” said the Ms Ruguru, adding that the reasons given by the prosecution to limit that right are plausible.

The magistrate said she had also considered the nature of the investigations and insecurity in the country before making the ruling.

EXHIBITS ANALYSIS

“The fact that the suspects have not been charged with any offence does not mean that they cannot be detained legally,” she said.

According to documents filed in court, the three were arrested on March 27 at Elwak on the Kenya-Somali border in Mandera County while attempting to cross to Somalia.

In his application, prosecuting counsel Eugene Wangila told the court that investigations were under way and that there were some exhibits that needed to be analysed.

Mr Wangila, who argued that his application was founded on law, said investigations are expected to cover the "larger" East Africa.

The women’s right to liberty, he said, is not absolute and laws on terrorism allow for detention of terrorism suspects for 90 days.

The suspects, through their lawyer Hamisi Mwadzogo, opposed the application to have them remanded.

LOOKED CALM

The women, who looked calm while in the dock, told the court that the prosecution had not presented any evidence to back its request.

“No viable reasons have been placed before court to grant the application,” said Mr Mwadzogo, adding that the court had not been told how the suspects were a threat to warrant their lock-up.

Investigations could still be carried out while the suspects were free, the lawyer said.

“They can be given bond pending investigations, they have been cooperating with police,” said Mr Mwadzogo, who also urged the court to take judicial notice of what he called over-polarisation of the matter.

The court allowed the suspects to retain the right to communicate with their advocate and relatives while in police custody.

The case will be mentioned on April 20.

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