Why Prosecutors Released Shakahola Survivor without Charges

January 22, 2024

Prosecutors released a Shakahola survivor who appeared in court with a two-month-old baby born in isolation.

The woman, identified only by the initials FM, is now at Port Reitz Sub-county Hospital in Mombasa, where she is hospitalized on suspicion of mental illness. She was one of 66 people rescued in May 2023 from the Shakahola forest where controversial cultist Paul Mackenzie radicalized followers of his Good News International Church into fasting to death.

The state stated that she is not being treated as a suspect because initial medical reports suggest she is not mentally stable enough to stand trial.

“We no longer consider her a suspect. We urge for a review of her mental status before considering her release to the family,” stated Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Jami Yamina.

The State Prosecutor asserted that the state is dedicated to ensuring the woman’s mental stability before taking any steps, including considering her as a state witness.

The woman stunned the court when she appeared with an infant on Friday. She spent most of the morning in a holding area inside the court precinct before being brought into the courtroom along with others.

The court was informed that the baby was born two months earlier in Shimo La Tewa Women’s Remand Prison, suggesting that the woman may have conceived in the Shakahola forest and given birth while in detention.

The case is scheduled to be mentioned on February 8.

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