Senator Linturi seeks Sh10m in damages from State for rights' violation

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi at the Nakuru law courts on February 28,2022. [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

A day after he was freed after the prosecution failed to prefer charges against him in a hate speech case, Meru Senator Mithika Lintuti has filed a suit at the High Court.

Linturi is now seeking Sh10 million for general damages, violation of his rights, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

He alleges infringement of his right by state agencies after he was alleged to have made incitement remarks at a rally attended by Deputy President William Ruto on January 8 in Uasin Gishu County.

On Tuesday, Justice Joel Ngugi granted Linturi’s Lawyer Elias Mutuma a 14-day leave to file and serve the senator’s petition.

Mutuma said he would include damages as one of the prayers of the senator.

The Sh10 million will be damages for alleged defamation and compensation for legal fees he used during the 50-day investigation period that commenced on January 8.

“My client wants general damages and damages for violation of his rights, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution,” Mutuma told the judge.

Linturi wants the High Court to declare his investigations, detention and disturbances, a violation of his rights, an abuse of the court process and therefore unlawful, null and void.

The senator was investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) through the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) for incitement.

In his petition, he mentions the DCI, DPP, NCIC and the Attorney General (AG) as the respondents.

He contends that it was wrong for detectives to arrest and detain him for 38 hours without arraigning him and the subsequent criminal proceedings were unconstitutional.

He adds that he was arrested in the wee hours of the night and driven carelessly at 'break-neck' speed across several counties (Eldoret through Nakuru to Nairobi then back to Nakuru).

“The petitioner (Linturi) stayed for 50 days after arrest and detention, without being informed of any factual basis or foundation to give rise to the criminal charges,” reads the petition.

He submits that his right to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved was being contravened by the actions of the state.

“The petitioner was being held captive and hostage of the state every Friday hence unable to freely discharge his legislative duties,” reads the petition.

He says he was disrespected by the state’s agencies which deliberately went out of their way to undermine his dignity, humiliate and embarrass him.

“The DCI, DPP and NCIC acted in bad faith when they chose to delay the conclusion of petitioner’s investigations, holding him captive physically, financially and psychologically, despite having no evidence against him,” reads the petition.

He submits that it was unlawful for the DPP and the DCI to hurriedly arrest him and present him to court, despite NCIC still investigating him, an act which he said was uncalled for.

Linturi accuses the government bodies of being used by the state to intimidate and oppress him into changing his political persuasion.

On Monday, Linturi was cleared of incitement charges after the prosecution decided to close his investigation.

It was his claim that he innocently made the said utterances in an attempt to vigorously urge the supporters of his political party to offer full support to Ruto.

The court will give its directions on the petition on April 28, 2022.