Mombasa, KENYA: The State on Tuesday ordered Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Simon Rotich to disqualify himself from hearing a terrorist case.
Ms Ummulkheir Sadri Abdalla, Ms Khadija Abubakar Abdulkadir, Ms Maryam Said Aboud and Ms Halima Adan were charged in a Mombasa court for being members of Al-Shabaab and planning an attack in the country.
State counsel Mr. Erick Masila asked the court to move the matter before another court, where it will be heard and not in the present court.
The defense counsel Mr. Mwadzogo Khamisi opposed the application and wanted it done in a formal manner before they all argue it out in court.
Magistrate Rotich said he was not in a position to explain to the court why the state wanted him removed from the case.
“I have been taking this matter quickly and I suspect this could be reason as to why am being disqualified from continuing,” he said.
Rotich also stated he was only concerned with the rights of the accused persons who have been in custody for over one year and did not have any interest in the case.
The court ordered the state to make a formal disqualification application on Thursday before it is heard on Friday and directions given.
“Let the state make an application asking magistrate to recusal,we want to know the reason why you are disqualifying him in this matter,” Mr. Khamisi said.
The four Al-shabaab suspects were arrested at the El Wak border point in Mandera County on March 27 last year while allegedly trying to sneak into Somalia.