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October 24, 2018

Muslim lobby groups decry lack of lawyers handling terror cases

Muhuri field officer Abdulrahman Mwangoka (R) trains community influencers at Red Cross Hall in Kwale county, May 16, 2018. /ERNEST CORNEL
Muhuri field officer Abdulrahman Mwangoka (R) trains community influencers at Red Cross Hall in Kwale county, May 16, 2018. /ERNEST CORNEL

There is a scarcity of lawyers handling terror-related cases, two lobby groups have said.

Muslims for Human Rights and Search for Common Ground said it has affected legal representations.

MUHURI’s program officer Khadija Nasoor said among the few lawyers, most are based in Nairobi, with Mombasa having around three.

This, MUHURI said, has not only inflated the cost of lawful representation but also denied justice to the suspects.

Some of the local attorneys representing accused include Jared Magolo, Chacha Mwita and Mwadzogo.

Search program director Judy Kimamo said they are working with the judiciary legal service providers to build attorneys’ capacity on matters terrorism.

She said the provider will identify willing lawyers to support cases.

This deal is contained in a 22-month-long project dabbed, “Justice for Peace: Preventing violent extremism through constructive engagement between criminal justice sectors actors and communities in Kenya”.

It plans to increase access to information and understanding of the justice-related violent extremism drivers and counterterrorism legislation processes in the country.

It also aims at enhancing dialogue and collaborative relationships between key actors in the criminal justice sector and in at-risk communities.

“There will be many paralegals as possible who will be taken through the objectives of the project," Kimamo said.

With other players, MUHURI and Search target Kwale, Mombasa and Kilifi, North Eastern and Nairobi.

Nasoor said the constitution spells representation rights of suspects including terror ones.

“There are such ongoing cases in the region but the fact that we have few lawyers, it creates a gap that must be filled as soon as possible,” Nasoor said.

The two spoke Wednesday in Kwale, Red Cross Hall during a meeting with community influencers.

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