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Suspected Al-Shabaab recruits oppose longer detention

Storyline:National News

Three women arrested en route to Somalia allegedly to join Al-Shabaab have opposed an application seeking their continued detention for 20 more days.
Ms Khadija Abubakar Abdulkadir, Ms Maryam Said Aboud and Ms Ummulkhayr Sadri Abdulla asked the court not to entertain the prosecution’s application as it is bad in law.
Through lawyer Hamisi Mwadzogo, they told Mombasa senior resident magistrate Irene Ruguru that police had not provided the court with compelling reasons to justify extending their detention.
Mr Mwadzogo told the court that the application to seek extension ought to have been made before the expiry of the time given to have the suspects in custody.
“The extension of time cannot be granted unless police satisfy the court there are compelling reasons for the same to be granted,” he said.
The magistrate allowed an application by the prosecution on March 30 to have the three women remanded for 20 days to allow police to complete investigations.
However, Mr Mwadzogo on Monday noted that police cannot exercise excessive pretrial detention and that the court has the power under the Prevention of Terrorism Act to grant the women bail.
He said the court may release the suspects on bond and that they (suspects) are ready to comply with any reasonable conditions to allow police to complete their investigations.
“They (suspects) have a right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, presumption dictates pre-trial detention should not constitute punishment,” he said.
In seeking further detention of the suspects, the prosecution told the court that the investigations were wide and complex.
The court heard that police were yet to complete the investigations within the period they had been given.
Ms Abdulkadir, Ms Aboud and Ms Abdulla had been remanded at Kilindini, Makupa and Nyali police stations, respectively.
The magistrate had noted that it was not in dispute that the suspects were arrested while going to Somalia hence if granted bond pending investigations, there are chances of their leaving the jurisdiction of the court thereby prejudicing the investigations.
“The right to liberty is not absolute as provided under Article 24 of the Constitution,” said Ms Ruguru when she allowed the application by the prosecution on March 30.
According to documents filed in court, the three were arrested at Elwak in Mandera County on March 27 while attempting to cross to Somalia.
The prosecution was expected to reply to submissions by Mr Mwadzogo on Monday afternoon.