State relies on terror law to detain cult leader Mackenzie, followers for up to a year

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Kilifi cult leader Paul Mackenzie and his associates could be detained without charge for up to a year, court documents show.

The state has invoked the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which allows for up to 360 days of extended detention without charge.

Prosecutors have reviewed updated police files on the Shakahola massacre investigation and concluded that it is necessary to continue detaining Mackenzie and his associates.

Documents filed in the Shanzu court show that the prosecution, investigators and the government chemist all agree that the suspects need to be detained for longer to allow investigations to be completed before formal charges are laid.

“The prosecution has reviewed the updated police files, consulted with other agencies involved in the investigation and independently concluded that further detention is necessary and justified,” the document states.

The State also argues that charging Mackenzie and his associates with the mass murder in the Shakahola forest would be contrary to the object and purpose of section 50(9) of the Constitution, as enabled by the Victims Protection Act.

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