COURT HALTS TERRORISM, ASSAULT CHARGES AGAINST SONKO.

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BY SAM ALFAN

Reprieve for former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko after the High court temporarily stopped his further prosecution over terrorism and assault charges brought against him which are pending before a Kahawa and Kiambu courts respectively.

In a ruling deliveried by Justice Weldon Korir of the constitution court, he said Sonko had demonstrated imminent threat to his constitutional rights as set out in the Bill of rights.

“An order is issued stopping Inspector General and Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji from Prosecuting Mike Sonko in two criminal cases before Kiambu courts pending hearing and determination of the petition,” ordered Judge Korir.

The Judge said the Director of Public Prosecutions did not rebut claims made by Sonko in his pleadings.

The Judge notes that the claim that the criminal justice system was being used to attain motives that are contrary to the mandates of the police and prosecutors speaks to what is called abuse of power.

“This is where a power donated to a particular office by the constitution is not used for the purpose envisaged by the makers of the constitution but to achieve ends that do not align with the national values and principles of governance established in Article 10 of the constitution,” he said.

The judge added that it is not evident from the pleadings before this court that there were active investigations prior to Sonko’s supposed speech but immediately after that state machinery was deployed to arrest and prosecute him with various offenses.

“I am therefore satisfied that there is apparent and imminent threat to his constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms which must be stopped at its inception,” Korir ruled.

He said where there is a threat or violation of the rights of a Kenyan is disclosed, it must be brought to a halt awaiting the hearing and determination of the petition.

The judge said claims by Mr Sonko that he was arrested after making statements at a political rally is a strong argument that needed a response but which was not forthcoming.

Former city boss Sonko moved to court saying his rights and fundamental freedoms have been violated or being threatened.

He wants the court to quash the two cases in Kiambu and Kahawa law courts arguing that the police cannot be allowed to resurrect cases that they had abandoned several years ago.

He said the intention of bringing the cases was to induce into submission politically, a move he said was a violation of his rights and freedoms.

Through his lawyer Dr John Khaminwa, Sonko said he was illegally detained based on impunity, malice and unfounded cases just to keep him in custody.

But Dr Khaminwa said the DPP and DCI have abused the powers granted to them and urged the court not to allow the constitutional rights of individuals to be abused regardless of the mandate, power and authority of the DPP and DCI.

“The respondents have been driven by impunity, malice and bad faith and they are bringing all sorts of frivolous cases that are baseless and unfounded to continue holding me in illegal custody and detention,” he said.

He has named the Inspector General of police, the DPP Noordin Haji and the Attorney General as respondents in the case.

The former governor says the DPP has formulated an evil scheme of lies, falsehoods and distortions to fix him on trumped up charges and allegations that have no basis.

He said he is aware that the government wants to resurrect criminal cases against him, which collapsed in 1998.

Some of the cases, he said were quashed by Justice Samuel Oguk in 2001, adding that the objective of resurrecting the cases is to achieve a political outcome of extinguishing his political career as opposed to the criminal of prosecuting cases for public interest.

Sonko says he was unlawfully detained before he was presented before court without his knowledge and in complete contraventions of his constitutional rights. He says the criminal charges were preferred against him as a result of public comments he made and following shoddy investigations by the police, a move he said shows lack of independence.

He said his comments were meant to enlighten Kenyans with respect to the characteristics of the people holding public and state offices.

“The rights and freedoms of the petitioner as enshrined in the constitution have been breached and shall likely be continued to be breached unless restrained by this honourabe court,” he said in an affidavit.

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