Kenya’s high court has suspended some of the anti-terrorism measures signed into law two weeks ago by President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying objections raised by the opposition over their constitutionality should be settled by the judiciary.
Kenyatta said when he signed the bill two weeks ago that it did not go against the bill of rights or any provision of the constitution.
Some of the laws that were suspended by the court are 1. Allowing security agents to intercept communications for purposes of “deterring, detecting and disrupting terrorism”
2. Allowing security agents to seize any equipment that can be used to commit a crime
3. Banning the publication or broadcasting of “insulting, threatening, or inciting material”, images of dead or injured people “likely to cause fear” and information that undermines security operations, including on social media. Punishable by a fine of $55,000, a three-year jail term or both
4. Limiting number of refugees and asylum-seekers to 150,000 – those applying for refugee status are not allowed to leave camps
High court Judge, George Odunga, said that the rights of the citizens should be the priority and that terrorism in the country should not be used as an excuse to implement some of the anti terror law and he also criticized how the law was passed in a rowdy session in the parliament last month.
Kenyatta has faced mounting pressure to boost security after Somali AL-shabaab rebels killed 67 people in a Nairobi shopping mall in September 2013 and after recent attacks in 2014. Last month, he replaced the interior minister and the police chief.
The leader of the opposition Raila Odinga and his supporters greeted the ruling with cheers and jubilation in the Nairobi courtroom chanting “A people united shall never be defeated.”