Pastor Paul Mackenzie is facing charges under anti-terrorism laws in the Shakahola case. The International Church of Good News leader appeared before the Shanzu court in Mombasa on Thursday, January 18th.
In April, a mass grave was discovered in the Shakahola forest, where Mackenzie’s sect was based. The pastor advocated for an extreme fasting regimen to commune with Jesus. Approximately 430 bodies of victims who died of starvation were found, leading to Mackenzie’s official indictment.
Among the myriad charges leveled against Paul Mackenzie, four fall under Kenya’s anti-terrorism law, including facilitating the commission of a terrorist act, participating in organized criminal activity, and radicalization.
Facing these charges, the former taxi driver turned self-proclaimed pastor pleaded “not guilty.”
Ninety-four co-defendants, all followers of the International Church of Good News, stood alongside Mackenzie, facing the same charges. Some were directly linked to the victims.
The day before, Paul Mackenzie and 29 co-defendants appeared before the Malindi court, north of Mombasa, for murder charges. However, the prosecutor’s office requested a 15-day adjournment to conduct a psychological evaluation of the accused.
The 95 suspects are yet to face charges related to involuntary manslaughter and child torture. Two hearings are scheduled for this purpose in Mombasa on January 23rd and 25th.