A Malindi Court yesterday allowed the police to detain a WhatsApp admin accused for sharing hate messages. They said that the messages threaten national security which the magistrate accepted and he was detained for a period of five days to complete investigation.
Malindi Resident Magistrate Yvone Khatambi allowed detectives to detain Mr. Japheth Mulewa who said to have threatened violence against certain community members in the area. He was detained at the Malindi Police Station.
In a sworn affidavit, Police Constable James Muyes said the respondent was arrested in Malindi on Tuesday following reports that he was distributing hate messages through the social media platform.
“The written material distributed through the WhatsApp Groups would cause panic to the members of the public during this electioneering period,” said the detective.
According to a story published by Daily Nation, Mr. Muyes further said he needs more time to retrieve information from the suspect’s mobile phone that has been forwarded to cyber crime unit for data analysis adding that the “accused is also required by detectives in Mombasa over a similar offence.”
In addition, Prosecution Counsel Alice Mathangani said the respondent might escape if release on bond since he is facing a serious offence under the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Act.
If indeed Mr. Japheth Mulewa did the crime, it has to be someone in the group who showed the police the messages and perhaps took screen shots used to secure his arrest and detention. This is because WhatsApp is a secure platform whose messages can only be seen by those directly being communicated to. Any other third party, like in this case, not in the group, would either need permission to access like the mobile phone, or be a member of the group to view the messages.