On Monday 21 September 2015, a Malindi court terminated a case in which the Kenyan Human Rights Defender (HRD) Joel Ogada had been charged with forcible detainer under section 91 of the Criminal Procedure Code in 2013. The case has not proceeded due to lack of witnesses.
When the matter came up for hearing, the prosecutor indicated he could not proceed and discharged the accused person under section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The defense objected to this application because the discharge would not bar subsequent proceedings against him on account of the same facts.
Consequently, the court allowed an application by the prosecution to discontinue the criminal proceedings under section 25(1) of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) Act, 2013. This effectively means Mr. Ogada is now a free man and has no pending criminal matters before the court.
On 20th August 2015, he was acquitted under Section 210 of the Criminal Procedure Code in another matter 677/2011 in which he had been charged with creating disturbance. This acquittal is based on the fact that the prosecution did not make a case against him sufficiently to require him to make a defense.
The foregoing goes to show that these were criminalization instances aiming to intimidate and harass Mr. Ogada for his continuous struggle against the illegal alienation of the Kurawa Farmers Association members’ land for salt mining without their consent or due compensation.
Though Mr Ogada is free, he faces the hard task of settling down and finding a home for his family as their house was demolished by the nearby factory.
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