Six suspects linked to the lynching of four elderly women in Kisii have been denied bail.
In a ruling delivered on Thursday, the High Court in Kisii ordered the suspects be held in custody pending their trial.
Amos Nyakundi, Chrispine Ogeto, Peter Angwenyi, Brian Nyakundi, Ronald Ombati and Justin Morara were charged with murder on October 17. They denied all four counts of murder.
The six, who accused the women of engaging in witchcraft, are believed to have attacked the women due to land rows.
While rejecting the suspects’ request for bail, Justice Rose Ougo cited the magnitude of the offense.
The judge also considered submissions by the prosecution whose lawyers argued that the safety of the suspects may not be guaranteed given the possibility of retaliatory attacks.
The suspects, the judge said, had not told the court where they intended to reside if the court granted them bail.
Probation officer, Gerald Atinda, also presented a social report indicating the suspects were not suitable for bail as their safety could not be guaranteed.
Lawyer John Khaminwa, who is representing the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) in the case, opposed the suspects’ release on the basis of the magnitude of the offense.
“This is a great crime performed beyond borders and this should be taken into account. The suspects should not be released on bond because of the offense committed,” Dr Khaminwa told the court.
The suspects’ lawyer, Shaffin Kaba, also put up a spirited defense saying the six are entitled to bond terms as provided by the constitution unless there were compelling reasons not to do so.
The hearing of the case has been set for 1st and 2nd March 2022.