Mungiki: 25 suspects freed as DPP withdraws charges

When some suspects believed to be members of the outlawed Mungiki sect were arrested in Nyeri on December 23, 2023. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Suspects who were arrested on New Year's eve over claims that they were members of the outlawed Mungiki sect have been released by the Murang’a Magistrates Court.

This is after the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (ODPP) informed Senior Principal Magistrate Edwin Nyaga that there was no evidence to prosecute the 25 suspects.

Their defense team led by lawyers Martha Karua, Jeremiah Kioni, Ndegwa Njiru, Kibe Mungai, and Kinuthia Mwangi had opposed their release arguing that they could be rearrested again and charged.

The application by the DPP was made after Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on February 12 called for a review of the matter by the state to have the suspects released.

On Thursday, the prosecutors informed the court that there was no sufficient evidence to sustain charges against the elders.

“These charges were preferred based on threshold test where the prosecution was expected to present more evidence through the investigative officers,” the lead prosecutor told the court.

The defense opposed the withdrawal application, saying the state had failed to present a credible charge sheet before the court that was capable of being withdrawn.

“We fear the aged Kikuyu men and women might be arrested again,” said Karua.