Malindi preacher facing radicalisation charge detained for 15 days

Pastor Paul Makenzi of Good News International Ministries with his 21 followers appear at the Malindi law court on October 2, 2017. /ALPHONCE GARI
Pastor Paul Makenzi of Good News International Ministries with his 21 followers appear at the Malindi law court on October 2, 2017. /ALPHONCE GARI

A controversial Malindi preacher who was arrested alongside his 21 followers for radicalising youths was on Monday remanded for 15 days.

Police told the court that they needed more time to complete investigations into the radical religious teachings the preacher was held for.

Pastor Paul Makenzi of Good News International Ministries church was holding 53 students, aged between 10 and 35 years, at his church.

Police raided the church and managed to rescue the students who had abandoned their homes to follow the pastor's teachings.

He was charged with radicalisation related to terrorism, operating a teaching institution and TV station without obtaining a licence.

Makenzi was also charged before Malindi chief magistrate Julie Oseko with denying children their right to education and medical care.

The prosecution team sought 30 days for the probe before they were granted 15 days ahead of a mention on October 9.

"Thirty days is too long considering the victims are children. The law provides for the expeditious hearing for cases involving children," Oseko said.

Makenzi and his accomplices shall be remanded at Malindi police station pending the investigations.

Investigating officer Collins Barasa in his affidavit said the investigation involves consulting various state agencies.

They are Ministry of Education, Communication Authority of Kenya, Department of Children Services, Ministry of Interior and the National Council of Churches.

Prosecuting counsel David Fedha said the pastor was operating a teaching institution, a TV station without a license.

Arguing for the need to detain the group, he said the accused persons were also making live recordings of the radicalisation process.

"The respondents are influential people in the church and can interfere with the witnesses in this case if released," Fedha said.

He told the court that they needed the time to trace all the witnesses to assist them in putting a strong case against the accused.

Fedha said police were still tracing parents of the children rescued at the church to assist in the investigation.

"The respondents might influence their evidence if released hence may jeopardise our investigations."

The suspects' lawyer James Mouko opposed the application arguing that it lacked merit and was based on mere rumors.

"The notice of motion is not based on any grounds. The court has not been told that a charge sheet dated October 2 had already been filed in court."

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