Sixty-five survivors of a Kenyan Christian cult are facing charges of attempted suicide after refusing to eat meals given to them at the rescue centre where they had been taken.
At court on Monday, the prosecution applied to have the survivors remanded in prison where mental and medical assessments could be done – as the rescue centre could no longer hold them. A ruling on the application is expected later in the week.
It is a criminal offence to take your own life in Kenya under laws introduced by British colonisers. Those same rules in England were scrapped more than 60 years ago and Kenyan campaigners are fighting to end them in their country too.
The 65 survivors are said to be followers of Pastor Paul Mackenzie, the alleged cult leader who is said to have convinced his congregants to fast to death in order to go to heaven.
Over 280 bodies have so far been recovered in shallow graves in the vast Shakahola forest near the coast where the pastor operated – 10 were exhumed on Monday.
Autopsy reports have shown that most of the victims, including children, died of starvation but some were strangled, beaten, or suffocated.
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