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Court did the right thing: Akasha sons bid to bar media in case quashed

Posted by African Press International on July 17, 2016

PHILIP MUYANGA -1 | Ijumaa, Julai 15, 2016

An application by sons of slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha and two foreigners to have foreign journalists barred from covering extradition proceedings against them has been dismissed.

On Friday, Mombasa chief magistrate Julius Nang’ea dismissed the application by the suspects saying it is not the duty of the court to confirm accreditation of foreign journalists.

Mr Nang’ea termed the application as pre-mature noting that there are other government agencies mandated to deal with the issue.

Through their lawyers, Mr Baktash Akasha Abdalla, Mr Gulam Hussein, Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla and Vijaygiri Anandgiri Goswami had raised concerns over the presence of three individuals believed to be foreign journalists.

Lawyer Kirathe Wandugi said if the individuals are journalists, there is need to know if they have been accredited since the suspects have a right to privacy.

“We are not against press freedom, we have foreigners in court, we want to know their justification in court,” said lawyer Kirathe Wandugi.

The application was opposed by prosecutor Alexander Muteti saying the Constitution recognizes the freedom of the media.

Mr Muteti argued that there is no justification to exclude the media in the proceedings, saying there was no evidence adduced to show those in court were unlawfully present in the country.

“To limit the press will be limiting the fundamental requirement of fair hearing,” said Mr Muteti adding that the suspects have not complained about any coverage.

Mr Muteti added that if the suspects have serious complaints, the Media Council of Kenya is the body mandated to deal with the issue.

NEW YORK TRIAL

According to an application by the DPP, the US law enforcement agents working with their Kenyan counterparts have investigated the suspects for the offences among them conspiracy to import heroin.

Upon conclusion of extradition proceedings, the DPP is seeking for an order that the respondents be extradited and surrendered to the US for trial in the Southern District of New York.

In their objection to the proceedings, the suspects claim that there does not exist any legal provisions that would entitle their extradition to the United States.

They further claim the warrants are incapable of being enforced in law within the country and should be quashed.

The suspects also claim that from the facts and evidence disclosed in the indictment and supporting affidavits of the US, they are not criminal fugitives because it is alleged (by US) that the crimes they committed took place with the jurisdiction of Kenya’s criminal courts.

“The respondents did not commit the alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of any other country, in the premises, they are not criminal fugitives,” read part of the preliminary objection.

According to the application, the US failed to enter into a treaty with Kenya for the reciprocal backing of warrants under Part 3 of the ECFCA.

“A fugitive criminal within the meaning of ECFCA can only have committed an extraditable crime within the jurisdiction of another country and has fled it and is hiding in Kenya,” the application further states.

Their case will be mentioned on August 1 after confirmation of availability of an interpreter.

End. Nation news Kenya

Note: The judge did the right thing. Why are the accused trying to hide what is in court from international media. The world should know about accused persons. Let the USA get them to answer the charges there.

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