Court Frees Nyeri Blogger Accused Insulting Governor’s Brother
A 25-year-old blogger, who was accused of insulting the brother of a Nyeri Governor, has been released after a court found her arrest was incorrectly handled.
The immediate release of Ms Martha Wanjiru Miano was ordered by Nyeri Resident Magistrate John Aringo, who previously ordered she be detained for seven days while the police conducted their investigations.
Social media insults
Ms Miano was arrested on Monday after being accused of insulting Rigathi Gachagua, brother of Nyeri governor Jack Kbiru on Facebook. She was taken into custody by police, from the Karatina CDF offices where she works, but her lawyers poked holes in the process of her arrest.
Lawyers Irungu Kangata, Muthui Kimani and Gichuhi Mwangi argued the correct procedure hadn’t been followed by investigating officers.
“The investigating officer arrested my client before receiving a report from the cybercrime unit which would have disclosed if the suspect has committed any crime as alleged,” said Mr Kangata. “The orders to detain her should be set aside because they were issued under unclear circumstances,” he had previously argued.
Magistrate John Aringo agreed with the points raised by Ms Miano’s representatives and ordered her immediate release. However, Mr Aringo said the prosecution is free to continue with this investigations and bring charges against her if suitable grounds are provided.
After Ms Miano’s release, she was pictured celebrating with Mathira residents and local MP Peter Weru. The MP condemned her arrest and labelled the case as political intimidation tactics, but vowed to fight for freedom of expression.
“If anyone thinks they will take us back to the Moi era, it will not happen here in Nyeri because we will not allow it,” he said.