17 August 2012

Kenya: Order Freeing Iran Suspects Reversed

TWO Iranians suspected of plotting an attack in the Mombasa and Nairobi will remain in custody until their case is resolved. This follows the revision of their bail application by the High Court yesterday after a successful appeal by the state.

The state had moved to the court seeking a review of ruling of the lower court, which had released the two on a cash bail of Sh2 million each.

Justice Lydia Achode said Ahmed Mohamud and Said Mausud were foreigners with no fixed abode. The judge further said Kenya has not signed an extradition treaty with Iran and it would be impossible to prevail upon Iran to return its nationals to Kenya to be prosecuted should they abscond and return to home.

"I take judicial notice of the circumstances prevailing at the time of the arrests of the respondents, when there were explosions going off in various parts of the country injuring, maiming and even killing people. I also note that the recovery of 15 kilogrammes of explosive material was made possible by the respondents and their arrests was as a result of intelligence reports which showed that 100 kilogrammes of dangerous explosive material had been shipped into the country from Iran through the Port of Mombasa," said Achode.

She said there is credence in the intelligence reports, which indicate that 85kilogrammes of the explosive is still at large and it may be accessed and used by the two suspects to harm innocent Kenyans. Mohamud and Mausud were arrested in June and charged with of being in possession of 15 kilogrammes of RDX explosives "in circumstances that indicated they were armed with intent to commit a felony".

It is alleged that they committed the offence on or before 20th June, 2012 at Mombasa Golf Course along Mama Ngina drive in the coastal town. The two suspects made two unsuccessful applications before they succeeded on the third attempt. They were released on cash bail of each Sh2 million each and sureties of 5 million each.

However, the state moved to the High Court seeking a review of their release. In their argument, the state through Edwin Okello argued that the two Iranians were a flight risk and they were not candid about their presence in Kenya. During the proceedings in the lower court, the two presented themselves as businessmen out to invest in the country yet they told the police during interrogation that they were tourist and had been issued with tourist visas at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The two were arrested moments after checking out of Laico Regency Hotel on their way to the Airport. Justice Achode dismissed their assertion that they were seriously sick and needed medical attention saying they did not table evidence showing when they fell ill. "It is not evident when they fell ill.

I was not told whether they travelled from Iran as very sick people or they developed these ailments in Kenya at the time of the arrest. At any rate, they are receiving medical attention," said the Judge. If found guilty, the two suspects risk life imprisonment on count one and 15 years on other counts.

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