Court to make ruling on security laws today

The High Court will today (Friday) give a ruling on the fate of the controversial security laws passed by the National Assembly in December 2014.

Judges Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi, Hillary Chemitei, Hedwig Ong’udi and Joseph Onguto are expected to decide whether the National Security (Amendment) Act, 2014 is constitutional or not.

In the event the judges find the law is unconstitutional, they can declare it null and void or strike out sections which violates the Constitution.

Eight clauses in the security laws had already been suspended by Justice George Odunga on January 2, 2015 when he heard the urgent application by Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

SUSPENDED CLAUSES

Among the sections suspended were those giving power to the National Intelligence Service to carry out special operations on terrorism suspects and punishments for media houses for publishing materials deemed to either encourage or induce terrorist attacks.

Cord and KNCHR contested over 20 clauses in the Act which they argued were unconstitutional.

They also took issue with the chaotic way in which the law was passed, lack of public participation and failure to involve the Senate in discussing the Bill before it was passed.

At the same time, Justice Weldon Korir will decide whether to order the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to restore analogue television signals to three leading media houses.

The judge Thursday directed that the petition by activist Okiya Omtatah seeking to compel CA to allow analogue broadcast for a limited period be heard Friday before he gives any orders.

Mr Omtatah argued that the decision by CA to switch off analogue signals before giving the three media houses time to roll out their own digital platform was unfair and has locked out members of the public from watching their preferred news sources.

-nation.co.ke

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