KWALE COUNTY: Separatist leader Omar Mwamnuadzi and 11 others were Monday set free on bond by a Kwale court after more than two weeks in prison on a charge of illegal assembly.
Mwamnuadzi was arrested at his Komabi home on October 15 and police claimed he and 11 others were holding an illegal meeting.
In court, he denied this and accused police of disrupting a celebration with friends at his home without legal cause. They were charged in Kwale with holding an illegal meeting and remanded at Shimo la Tewa prison in Mombasa but Monday a magistrate ruled that Mwamnuadzi who is the founder and chairman of the Mombasa Republic Council (MRC) could be set free on a Sh800,000 bond with two similar sureties.
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The case involving the 12 was also mentioned last week but postponed to Monday to give the probation officer Simon Thagu time to give a report on the suspects' application for bail.
They were charged on October 15 before principal magistrate Elizabeth Usui with taking part in unlawful assembly contrary to section 79 of the penal code.
According to the report by the probation officer all the 12 were eligible for the bond according to the constitution, a plea that was also not objected by the prosecution led by state council George Mungai.
"I have looked at the report and prosecution has no compelling reasons to deny the accused bail and [they] should therefore be released on a bond of Sh800,000 each," directed the principal magistrate.
Earlier, the accused through their lawyer Abubakar Yusuf had asked the court to consider giving them an alternative of cash bail.
The other 11 who appeared before the court included Khamis Fadhili, Mohammed Mwaganda, Baya Ngwache, Swale Muazi, Anthony Kufuja, Katana Jibana and Munga Mtie.
Others are Mohammed Mwakisoto, Masud Juma, Jumamosi Goga and Jairus Ndarawe.
Usui pushed the hearing date from an earlier 15th December this year to 12th January next year after the accused lawyer told the court that he will not be available on the earlier date.
The case will be mentioned on November 17.
As they were listening to the court's verdict a few of them were seen murmuring as if in prayer with Mwamnuadzi affording a smile and few glances to the audience as he appreciated them by show of hands.
Both outside and inside the court it was a packed house as his supporters came to offer psychological support.
Immediately after the verdict which was handed at around 9.30am, an eager crowd that was milling outside the court as early as 7 am assembled to interpret the ruling and as it sank deeper you could realize the disappointment that they had.