Prosecutors dropped charges against the three journalists, saying the state did not wish to pursue its case, according to local and international media reports. They had been arrested February 28 and held for two days before being charged with publishing “alarming statements” and released on bail. The charges related to a story alleging that President Mwai Kibaki had held a secret meeting with a fired former minister to bring him back into the shaky government.
The story also sparked an attack by police on their newspaper and television station in early March. Armed and masked police officers raided the offices of The Standard overnight, harassing staff, vandalizing equipment, and setting fire to roughly 20,000 copies of the next day’s edition. A similar group also raided the offices of the Kenya Television Network (KTN), which is owned by the Standard Group, briefly detaining several staffers, confiscating tapes and up to 40 computer hard drives. The raid provoked local and international outrage.