Court detains WhatsApp admin Japhet Mulewa for sharing hate messages

Photo: Courtesy

A WhatsApp administrator has been detained for an extra five days by a court in Malindi after being accused of sharing hate speech messages that is deemed to threaten national security.

Police moved to court to seek to detain Japhet Mulewa who was arrested in Malindi on Tuesday in order to conclude investigation on messages the accused allegedly shared on the online media platform that threatened to slaughter members of a certain community.

Mulewa appeared before Resident Magistrate Yvone Khatambi and was ordered detained at Malindi Police Station as per the prayers of detectives.

While issuing the order, the magistrate said there is need to exercise caution to reduce unrest, bearing in mind that the country has just come from elections.

Police Constable James Muyes in a sworn affidavit said that the accused was arrested on Tuesday in Malindi town following reports that he was distributing hate messages through the social media platform.

"The written material distributed through the WhatsApp groups would cause panic to the members of the public during this electioneering period," reads part of the affidavit.

Mr Muyes further said that he needed more time to retrieve information from the mobile phone of the accused and forward it to the Cybercrime Unit for data analysis.

The court also heard that Mulewa was also required by detectives in Mombasa for a similar offence.

The plea by the detective was reinforced when Prosecution Counsel Alice Mathangani said that the respondent might escape if released on bond since he was facing a serious offence under the National Cohesion and Integration (NCIC) Act.

"According to the charge sheet, he is accused of distributing messages saying they will kill Kikuyus, Embus, Tharaka, Merus and Kalenjins living in the coast region after the Idhul Hajj holiday," she added.