Kenyan cult chief Paul Mackenzie and 29 associates have been charged with the homicide of 191 youngsters whose our bodies have been discovered amongst greater than double that quantity buried in a forest.
The defendants all denied the fees introduced earlier than a court docket within the coastal city of Malindi. One suspect was discovered mentally unfit to face trial.
Prosecutors say Mackenzie, the top of the Good News International Church, ordered his followers to starve themselves and their youngsters to loss of life in order that they might go to heaven earlier than the world ended.
He was arrested in April final 12 months after the our bodies began to be found.
Before the homicide expenses have been introduced, he was charged with terrorism-related crimes, manslaughter and torture.
More than 400 our bodies have been uncovered throughout months of exhumations throughout tens of hundreds of acres of the Shakahola forest, making it one of many world’s worst cult-related tragedies in latest historical past.
LISTEN to the brand new podcast
Court within the Act
Inside the courtroom with Tim Clarke.
Find out extra
A lawyer for Mackenzie, who has been in custody since police began unearthing our bodies, has mentioned the self-styled pastor is co-operating with the investigation.
During a listening to in January a choose granted a prosecution request to conduct psychological well being assessments of the 31 defendants earlier than they have been formally charged and entered pleas.
Prosecutors additionally attributed delays in bringing expenses to the gruelling and delicate job of finding, exhuming and analyzing so many human stays.
Some of Mackenzie’s different followers have been rescued, emaciated, from the forest.
People with information of the cult’s actions instructed Reuters final 12 months that Mackenzie deliberate the mass hunger in three phases: first youngsters, then ladies and younger males, and at last the remaining males.
A former taxi driver, he forbade cult members from sending their youngsters to highschool and from going to hospital once they have been in poor health, branding such establishments as Satanic, a few of his followers mentioned.