Police have been ordered to produce four women accused of being members of Al-Shabaab before a Mombasa court.
Ummulkheir Sadri Abdalla, Khadija Abubakar Abdulkadir, Maryam Said Aboud and Halima Adan Ali, who were remanded at Shimo la Tewa Prison, failed to appear before a Mombasa court for a mention.
In their absence, their lawyers launched a complaint before Mombasa Chief Magistrate Susan Shitubi over what caused them not to show up.Mrs Shitubi said the court administration mistakenly forwarded their file to the Shanzu Law Courts, adding that she has “spoken to the officer in charge who has apologised”.
There was confusion on Friday morning as friends and relatives of the accused turned up at the court.
According to Hamisi Mwadzogo, a lawyer for the accused, the mention was intended to fix a hearing date and confirm if witness statements had been supplied by the prosecution.
He complained about how the court has handled the issue, saying that his clients’ constitutional rights has been broken.
“Mention in absence of the accused is against Article 50 of the Constitution which states that the accused have a right to be present in court,” he said.
Mr Mwadzogo, who is representing three of the women, also urged the court to set a mention date to inform the accused on what transpired during the mention.
“This is to increase confidence so that they see justice is being done. Also, fix a near hearing date because the accused are students,” said Mr Mwadzogo.
SEPARATE THE CHARGE SHEET
However, Chacha Mwita, representing Ms Ali, said the mention was to apply for over miss joiner of charges.
“This to separate the charge sheet of the fourth accused against the three, because they are not linked in the offense,” he said.
The allegation by the defence that the prosecution had a hand in the confusion of the file was denied by State Counsel Eugine Wangila.
“The police file is in court. We were also informed that the court file was forwarded to Shanzu Court,” he said.
The four, who were denied bond by a Mombasa court, are accused of allegedly engaging in criminal activities by being members of the terrorist group.
Ms Abdalla, Ms Abdulkadir and Ms Aboud were arrested while allegedly traveling to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab on March 27 this year at El Wak on the Kenya-Somalia border in Mandera County.
The court ordered “a production order of the four accused to be made available in court on (Tuesday) June 16,” to confirm what transpired in court.
“Due to the urgency of the case because the accused are in custody, hearing is set for July 16 before the trial court,” said the magistrate.