Kenyan court threatens to release suspected cult leader

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A court in Kenya has threatened to release suspected cult leader Paul Nthenge Mackenzie if the state prosecutor fails to charge him within two weeks.

Mr Mackenzie has been detained since last April in connection with the deaths of at least 400 people, many of whom starved themselves to death.

Official autopsies of some of the bodies also found signs of suffocation and beatings.

The victims were members of the Good News International Church which is based on the Kenyan coast and was run by Mr Mackenzie. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Senior Magistrate Yusuf Abdallah Shikanda on Tuesday said Mr Mackenzie’s pre-trial detention has been a long journey that must now come to an end.

He said a prosecution would have to follow or else Mr Mackenzie and 29 co-accused could be released in two weeks time.

Prosecutors had in September called for 180 more days to hold Mr Mackenzie from that point but the magistrate noted that 117 days had since elapsed.

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