Kenya's 'Hate Radio' DJ at international court

Kenya's 'Hate Radio' DJ at international court
Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto speaks with broadcaster Joshua arap Sang (right) in the courtroom before their trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

NAIROBI - Kenyan radio boss Joshua arap Sang, who reported on post-election violence in 2007 that left hundreds dead, appeared in court Tuesday on trial for hate speech and organising killings.

A presenter with the Kalenjin-language radio Kass FM, he pleaded not guilty to crimes against humanity accused of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and torture and persecution of political opponents.

He appeared in the dock at the International Criminal Court alongside fellow accused Vice-President William Ruto.

Short in stature, a dedicated church-goer, professed teetotaller and super-keen Arsenal supporter, 38-year old Sang does not cut a fearsome figure.

But he is accused of inciting and helping coordinate attacks -- including through alleged coded messages broadcast on the radio -- against political and ethnic rivals.

He smiled as charges were read out, occasionally shaking his head.

Sang, from the Kalenjin ethnic group and from Kitale in western Kenya, is accused by ICC prosecutors of "fanning violence through spreading hate messages".

On the radio, he is accused of "explicitly revealing a desire to expel the Kikuyus", largely supporters of Mwai Kibaki, who in 2007 was named president for a second term amid allegations of vote rigging.

"I did not, I have not and I will never involve myself with crime against humanity," Sang wrote earlier this year.

Journalist colleagues describe a jovial and "very social man" who regularly invited them out and bought their lunch.

When then ICC prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo came to Kenya to investigate the violence, Sang even posed with the man who would call him for trial, proudly posting the photograph on his Facebook page.

But Sang now cuts a more forlorn figure, grumbling a day before the trial started on Twitter that he could not find traditional Kenyan food to eat.

"I liked the way media have forgotten that we are three suspects at the ICC, wish (ICC prosecutor Fatou) Bensouda could do the same," he wrote on his Twitter account earlier this year.

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