Robert Alai charged with treason, released on Sh300,000 cash bail

Blogger Robert Alai when he appeared at a Milimani court on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. He has been released on Sh300,000 cash bail after being charged with treachery, in connection with his posting of pictures of bodies of police officers killed in Wajir attack. [George Njunge/Standard]

Controversial blogger Robert Alai was today charged and released on Sh300,000 cash bail for posting gory pictures of police officers killed in a terror attack in Wajir a fortnight ago.

Alai faced two counts of treachery and disclosure of information against the law before Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.

The prosecution's case was that the offense was committed on June 17, 2019, at an unknown place with the intention of helping Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group.

Court heard that Alai shared a photo of dead police officers on a WhatsApp platform, an act of interfering with the public order within the Republic of Kenya.

In the second count, Alai was charged with disclosing information in the form of images of dead police officers to the public through the Twitter handle @RobertAlai, which is likely to prejudice the investigations.

Through his lawyer Paul Muite, Alai pleaded with the court to release him on favourable cash bail so that he can unite with his family.

“People of Kenya have a right to information and journalists have absolute rights to inform the public of what is happening within the surrounding,” argued Muite in court.

He told the court that the accused has a right to be released on bail pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Muite said that Alai had been in custody since June 19, 2019 waiting for the police to complete investigations.

“The accused needs to re-unite with his young family and attend trial as mentioned,” said Muite.

The prosecution did not oppose his release on bail.

Andayi while releasing him said he has considered the fact that he has been in custody since June 19, 2019, and that the prosecution did not oppose his release on bail.

“The accused must note that the offense is serious and attract a penalty of a life sentence,” said Andayi.

Alai was arrested by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

The attack occurred last month when officers were ambushed while pursuing attackers who raided a village in Konton area, and kidnapped three police reservists.

He protested that some of the officers’ family members might have stumbled on the pictures, a thing, he said would be traumatized.

He was granted a cash bail of Sh300,000 or a bond of Sh500,000. The matter will be heard on August 8, 2019, and be mentioned on July 16, 2019.