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Anti-terror boss says suspects should not wear veils in court

By Standard Team | Published Thu, July 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 11th 2018 at 22:21 GMT +3
Mombasa ATPU head Charles Ogeto. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The Anti-Terrorist Police Unit (ATPU) has proposed that terrorism suspects do not conceal their faces during trial.

Mombasa ATPU head Charles Ogeto yesterday told a Magistrate's Court trying three female terror suspects it was easier to identify them during trial if they were not wearing full face veils (niqabs).

"We urge the court to ensure the accused unveil their niqabs whenever they appear in court,” said Ogeto, who had been summoned to answer to claims that the ATPU were harassing defence lawyers, the magistrate and the suspects.

This followed last month's events when ATPU officers from Nairobi detained terror suspects Maryam Said Aboud and Ummul Khayr Sadir Abdalla and their relatives as they left court.

Police were said to have been looking for one Halima Adan Ali, who is accused, with the two women, after claiming she had not come to court or that someone else impersonated her during court appearances.

Later, there were claims attributed to police that a defence lawyer aided Halima not to come to court.

Mombasa Chief Magistrate Evans Makori denied the claims and said all suspects had attended all court sessions. But he also said he had allowed the suspects to remain veiled during court to protect their dignity.

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Ogeto told the court the ATPU had no grudge with anyone, and that they were only seeking to protect the society from devastating terror attacks.

"Matters of terrorism are of a sensitive nature, and we cannot assume anything. We would not want to regret later for not acting in time,” he said, adding that the ATPU operated within the law and respected the judicial process.

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