Kenya

Sheikh charged with terrorism denied bail

Sheikh charged with terrorism denied bail

Summary

  • Sheikh Guyo Boru, who is facing 11 charges related to terrorism, was arraigned on January 13, 2018.
  • During his arrest, one person was killed and several vehicles burnt.
  • While opposing the bail application, State counsel Willy Momanyi said Mr Boru is facing serious criminal charges.

A Muslim preacher whose arrest two years ago caused chaos in Marsabit will remain in remand after the High Court dismissed his application for bail pending trial.

Sheikh Guyo Gorsa Boru, who is facing 11 charges related to terrorism and being a member of a terrorist group, wanted to be released on grounds that there no longer existed compelling reasons to deny him bail.

In his application, Mr Boru explained that since his arraignment in court on January 13, 2018 the State has not been diligent in the prosecution of the case.

He set out instances where the prosecution failed to supply him witnesses’ statements within the stipulated period. He also complained that the prosecution, without reasonable excuse, was seeking adjournments of the trial with an aim to delay the conclusion of the case.

He also urged the court to consider his background and relationship with the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) prior to his arrest.

On fears that if released he would escape, Mr Boru said he had no capacity to flee the country. As regard to whether his release would pose a danger to public security, the applicant stated that there was no evidence that such threat existed.

While explaining that he is not a danger to the society, Mr Boru submitted that the charges facing him do not include radicalisation which would have entitled the prosecution to make such a claim.

He further submitted that the persons who were charged with causing civil disturbances in Marsabit following his arrest were acquitted by the court.

He said there was no possibility that he would be a threat to the security and peace of the community, hence the circumstances that had caused dismissal of his earlier application had changed.

He pointed out that the majority of the charges are based on alleged terrorism material found in his phone, adding that he is a law abiding citizen who should benefit from the constitutionally guaranteed right to be released on bail pending trial.

But justice Luka Kimaru found the prosecution was not solely to blame for the delay in the expeditious conclusion of the criminal trial. Some of the delays were attributed to the non-attendance of the interpreter.

Since only two prosecution witnesses are yet to testify, justice Kimaru ordered the State to present them and close its case within three months.

Should the State fail to comply with the order, the judge said Mr Boru will be at liberty to reapply to be released on bail.

The judge further said Mr Boru was not able to establish that the circumstances that had made the court dismiss his earlier bail application had changed.

In opposing the bail application, State counsel Willy Momanyi said Mr Boru is facing serious criminal charges and if convicted he is likely to face a stiff custodial sentence.

“Terrorism is a serious offence and undermines the national security and tranquillity of the people of Kenya. It would be risky to release the applicant on bail pending trial because he is not likely to attend court to face trial,” said Mr Momanyi.

He insisted that the prosecution was apprehensive Mr Boru may have reasons to abscond and leave the country due to the fact that if he were to be convicted, he would serve a substantial term in prison.