Why dalliance with strangers could land you in trouble

Police evacuating a victim of terror attack at DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard].
Acts of kindness to strangers or friends might land you on the wrong side of anti-terror laws.

When terror suspects are arrested, law enforcement agencies carry out investigations including where the suspects lived and calls made from their cellphones.

It is always crucial for landlords and hoteliers, for instance, to record crucial details of people. They are required to take identification details of the tenants or guests to be.

The national identity card, PIN number issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority, telephone number and even a letter from the area chief can save you from being sentenced to jail by the court.

“Landlords should be suspicious of an individual tenant paying upfront rent for six months to two years for a residential house. Only companies or organisations with proper registration documents can pay for their workers all those months,” says lawyer Harun Ndubi.

Security guards manning buildings are required to fill identification details of guests before being allowed in. The guests are required to adhere to the rules set by owners of the buildings or gated estates.

Taking photos

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Taking photos of some establishments like five star hotels, government institutions and malls could also land you in trouble.

Section 29 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act indicates that a person who holds, collects, generates or transmits information for the use in the commission of a terrorist act is liable to imprisonment for up to 30 years.

It is under this law that Mohamed Abdi Adan was charged when he was found with a laptop that had video clips, photo images and downloaded maps of vital installations.

They included Parliament, Sheria House, Holy Family Basilica, City Hall, Kencom House, Supreme Court building, University of Nairobi-Kenya Science Campus.

However, on March 27, 2017, the High Court set aside a 10-year sentence on grounds that the police failed to book the exhibits which the investigating officer took.

Careless use of social media is also dangerous. It is illegal to publish, distribute or otherwise avail information intending to directly or indirectly incite another person to carry out a terrorist act. This may land you in jail for a maximum of 30 years.

The law also prohibits one from issuing information that a terrorist act has been or is likely to be committed, knowing that the information is false.

Sending such hoax messages can earn you 20 years in jail.

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