Citizen TV journalist Jacque Maribe, a suspect in the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani in Nairobi, will stay in police cells longer, a Kiambu magistrate's court has ruled.
Kiambu Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku on Monday allowed police to hold Ms Maribe for 11 more days at Gigiri Police Station in the capital Nairobi as they investigate the case.
The court had ordered a 10-day detention (an earlier version of this story indicated as such) but revised it to 11 after it was established that October 10 is a holiday on which courts do not transact business.
Detectives brought Ms Maribe to court at 8.30am and locked her up at the cells as she waited for her date with destiny.
She was taken to court a few minutes after 9am, with State prosecutors making an application to extend her lock-up as they investigate the murder that has also seen the detention of her fiancé Joseph Kuria Irungu.
The prosecutors, led by Assistant Deputy Director of Prosecutions Jacinta Nyamosi, had asked Mr Kituku to allow police to detain the journalist for another 14 days, saying the charges she was facing were serious.
They cited forensic and ballistic examination of the samples that they took from the suspect's house and a pending DNA test among other reasons to back up their request.
If set free, they told the magistrate, Ms Maribe is likely to interfere with the ongoing investigations.
But her lawyer Katwa Kigen, who lost the battle for the news anchor's temporary freedom, had opposed the request, saying the time requested was unreasonable.
The reasons given by the prosecution, Mr Kigen said, were not compelling.
Mr Kigen also decried the conditions under which Ms Maribe was held over the weekend, saying she was intimidated and mocked by fellow inmates.
If the court decides to detain the journalist for more days, he said, the magistrate should ensure her rights as a suspect are not violated.
In his ruling, the magistrate granted Mr Kigen's request and directed that police guarantee Ms Maribe safety and security in the cells.
He referred to a recent incident where a suspect in the attempted murder of a former Mandera County government official died while in police custody.
The court directed that Ms Maribe should not be forced to record any statement in the absence of her lawyer.
Among those who were in court were her father and her mother, who broke down when the journalist was bundled into a police car.
The news anchor, who broke the news of Ms Kimani’s death on TV, was arrested on Saturday, days after she was interrogated by detectives over the case.
Her fiancé Irungu, the main suspect in the murder, was last week presented before Kiambu Senior Resident Magistrate Stella Atambo, who allowed police to detain him for 10 more days as they investigate the case.
Ms Kimani’s body was found in a bathtub at her house in Kilimani, Nairobi, with her throat slit and hands tied behind her back.
Mr Irungu, Ms Maribe and their mutual friend Brian Kassaine, in whose house detectives found a gun hidden in the ceiling, are the suspects in police custody so far.
Mr Kassaine is also expected in court on Monday or Tuesday.