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Judiciary condemns eviction of journalists from court during subversion case » Capital News


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21– The Judiciary has condemned the eviction of journalists from the Milimani Law Courts after a bail ruling in a subversion case against Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino.

In a statement on Friday, the Judiciary urged justice sector players, including the police, to adhere to the rule of law.

“We condemn in the strongest terms any harassment of the media in their line of duty, anywhere and particularly within court precincts.”

The Judiciary restated its commitment to the values of accountability, transparency, and civic engagement.

“Unless otherwise directed, the Judiciary does not bar the media from covering cases within its precinct. The Judiciary believes that media presence in court denotes permanent civic vigilance over the exercise of judicial authority, which is delegated to the Judiciary by the Kenyan people,” read the statement.

“The conduct of all justice actors must always promote and uphold the rule of law and build public confidence in the justice system.”

The Judiciary said it is committed to upholding media freedom, the rights of journalists and the rule of law.

Judiciary’s public statement followed uproar over hostile treatment of journalists by a group of anti-riot police officers after proceedings before Milimani Chief Magistrate Lukas Onyina.

The confrontation ensued moments after Owino was released on Sh100,000 cash bail in a subversion case filed on Thursday.

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Onyina ordered Owino’s release after making a finding that the prosecution did not present a compelling case to deny the lawmaker and six co-accused persons bail.

“A holistic look at the affidavit does not disclose compelling reasons to deny the accused persons bond, each of the accused persons is granted bond of Sh200,000 with an alternative cash bail of Sh100,000,” the magistrate ruled.

Subversion

The accused persons who included opposition activist Calvin Gaucho were presented in court on Thursday and charged with subversion alongside five others following his arrest on Tuesday.

Gaucho stirred an online backlash after slaughtering a goat in full glare of cameras and licked its raw blood while daring government officials he accused of threatening Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

He made the statement on Tuesday, a day before the planned resumption of anti-government protests called by Odinga.

Appearing in court on Thursday, the State challenged a bid by lawyers representing the accused persons to have them released on bail citing national security concerns.

Lawyers representing the seven accused persons contested the State’s objection decrying the arbitrary detention of accused persons outside the 24-hour period provided for in law.

The lawyers cited Article 49 of the Constitution (2010) which requires the State to produce arrested persons in court “as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than– (i) twenty-four hours after being arrested”.

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