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Barasa lawyer fails to appear in ICC extradition appeal

19 March 2014, 22:29 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - An application to arrest Journalist Walter Barasa over allegations of interference with witnesses at the International Criminal Court has been granted by a Nairobi court.

Principle judge Richard Mwongo said Wednesday that orders halting the Cabinet Secretary of Interior and National Coordination Joseph Ole Lenku inquest to arrest Mr Barasa be vacated because of tactical delays from the journalist’s lawyer.

“It is not acceptable for the learned counsel to seek to take further advantage of the orders issued on behalf of his client because he knew the matter was coming up for hearing,”  Justice Mwongo said.

Barasa’s lawyer Kibe Mungai who was not present but had requested for an adjournment of the case hearing as well as an extension of the orders stopping the arrest and extradition of Mr Barasa.

Mr Wilfred Nderitu, witness lawyer at The Hague based court objected to the reasons presented to the court saying that Mungai had not satisfactorily given reasons as to why he could not attend the hearing.

Mr Nderitu asked the court to quash the order staying the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision to commence inquest into the surrender of the former journalist as it appeared a “technical delay tactic.”

He insisted that Mr Mungai had not written a formal letter explaining why he could not make it to court for the hearing.

He claimed that on several occasions, the court had granted the relief sought by Mr Mungai and that he was now taking advantage of the rations by the court.

It is at this juncture that Justice Mwongo quashed the orders and asked the lawyers to get a fresh hearing date at the judiciary registry.

The court had ruled on January 2014, that there was no jurisdiction to stop The Hague court from extraditing him.

Barasa however appealed against the ruling and was given a 14 day relief to appeal the decision.

He also acquired stay orders barring the execution of the judgment pending the hearing and determination of his appeal.

The 41 year old journalist is being sought by the ICC after he was accused of bribing three prosecution witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang with amounts ranging between KES 1M and KES 1.5M.

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