Thirty seven suspects arrested for illegally operating radio equipment without a license will be charged on Wednesday, a Nairobi court ruled Monday.
The suspects, who police have established consist of 13 Chinese nationals, 23 Taiwanese and a Thai, could not be charged as planned since they claim not to speak English and there were no translators available to the court.
Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu told Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Mbugua that the translator hired to do the translation was not present at the time and requested that the plea-taking be deferred to a later date.
Mr Ondimu also said that the prosecution had realized that more than one translator would be required. The Magistrate agreed with the prosecution.
“Proceedings must be conducted in a language understood by the suspects,” said Magistrate Mbugua. “A Chief Officer will appoint a translator and the court, therefore, defers this plea to December 10.”
Mandarin or Standard Chinese is the official language in both China and Taiwan (Republic of China), while Thailand’s citizens speak Thai.
The lawyer for the 36 Chinese, Mr Tom Wachakana, said that investigations had proved that their entry into the country was legal and pleaded that they be released on bond pending trial.
“The DCIO Parklands confirmed yesterday (Sunday) that they have legal travelling documents,” said Mr Wachakana. “Five days were enough to be detained. The conditions at the remand prison are not proper for them, especially the young women amongst them.”
Mr Ondimu opposed this saying: “The suspects are being detained at the most prestigious remand in the country, equipped with the best toilet facilities, situated in the most secure locality.”
High Court judge Luka Kimaru declined to issue a ruling on their release on bond saying it would be improper when they had not even been charged. He said he would issue his ruling on Thursday morning, a day after they are charged.
The judge also directed the Prosecution should ensure that 40 other suspects also detained at Gigiri Police Station be charged on Thursday so that he could also make a ruling on whether to release them on bond on that day.