Kenya doomsday cult pastor, followers face charges including murder and child torture

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Kenya’s director of public prosecutions on Tuesday ordered that 95 people from a doomsday cult be charged with murder, manslaughter, radicalization, cruelty and child torture, among other crimes, over the deaths of 429 people believed to be members of the church.

The director, Mulele Ingonga, was responding to pressure from a magistrate in the coastal county of Kilifi who told the prosecution to charge the suspects within two weeks or the court would release them.

For months since the arrests last April, prosecutors had asked the court for permission to keep holding church leader Paul Mackenzie and 28 others while they looked into the case that shocked Kenyans with the discovery of mass graves and allegations of starvation and strangulation.

Principal Magistrate Yousuf Shikanda declined the latest request to hold the suspects for an additional 60 days, saying the prosecution had been given enough time complete investigations.

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