An Eldoret court releases 15 suspects arrested for attacking Raila unconditionally

An Eldoret court releases 15 suspects arrested for attacking Raila unconditionally

BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,13TH APRIL,2022-A court in Eldoret has released 15 of the 17 suspects arrested for allegedly stoning a chopper that was carrying former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Senior Resident Magistrate Emily Kigen freed the 15 after the prosecution said it had no case against them save for two suspects against whom it will press charges.

Kigen ordered that the 15 be freed unconditionally and that the two should take a plea.

Titus Bitok, the lawyer representing the suspects, welcomed the move.

“As we had said, the suspects were innocent people and had been detained illegally.

“We are happy that they have been released but it’s an indication that police arrested innocent people and detained them illegally,” Bitok said.

Parents of the freed suspects led by Hellen Barmoiben said they were happy with their children’s release.

“We still apologize to Odinga over what happened but police rushed to arrest innocent people without first carrying out proper investigations”, she said.

According to Barmoiben, most of those arrested did not even attend Kibor’s burial and were away from the region.

Last week, the court ordered that the suspects be detained at the Eldoret police station for seven days to enable the DCI complete investigations.

The prosecution led by Jamleck Mureithi had requested for 14 days arguing that the suspects were a flight risk since they were likely to face serious charges.

They were being investigated over offenses of attempted murder, malicious damage to property and incitement to violence.

The suspects include Abednego Kiptanui, Godwin Kipchirchir, Abraham Chemja, Rodgers Kiplimo, Sammy Keter, Elvis Kipkoech, Moses Bahati, Edwin Chruiyot, William Samal Erupe and Cleophas Cheboi.

Others are Peris Maiyo, Elias Kiplagat, Eliud Kimeli, Kiplagat Chumba, Kenneth Sawe, Kipkorir Muge and Collins Cheboi.

The prosecutor had last week told the court that the suspects damaged a chopper whose value exceeds Sh300 million.

It was alleged that they committed the offenses on April 1, at Kabenes in Uasin Gishu.

The ODM leader was in the area to attend the burial of Mzee Kibor.

Raila’s helicopter was pelted with stones as he left the area.

Investigating officer in the case, Daniel Polo told the court in an affidavit that witnesses in the case were yet to record statements.

“Investigations against some of the suspects are also going on in Nakuru and hence the matter covers several areas beyond Uasin Gishu,” Polo said.

The prosecution had said the suspects started shouting that they were UDA supporters as they advanced towards the area where the plane was parked.

“The respondents pelted stones to the vehicles which were carrying the former prime minister while shouting,” Polo’s affidavit reads in part.

He said as the chopper was taking off, the left side of the windshield where Raila was seated was hit by a stone which went through and almost hit him.

Polo said as the aircraft took off, the respondents continued to pelt it with stones causing extensive dents on it’s body so much that the chopper almost lost control.

Magistrate Kigen had last week agreed with the prosecution to detain the suspects arguing that it was for their own good.

“In fact it’s for their benefit that some of the suspects may not be charged hence the need for time to allow the prosecution complete investigations,” Kigen said.

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