Garissa university attack: Blow to suspects as Court throws out appeal

When friends and relatives staged a vigil in honour of the slain Garissa University students. [File, Standard]

The High Court in Nairobi has thrown out an appeal by two Garissa Universit attack suspects seeking to have their sentence reviewed.

The two, Hassan Edin Hassan and Mohamed Abdi Abikar were found guilty as the masterminds of the 2015 attack that left over 148 people dead.

In 2019, they were convicted and sentenced to 36 years in jail.

The two however appealed against the judgement saying it was excessive and harsh.

But Justice Cecilia Githua dismissed their appeal saying the sentence against them was within the law.

Hassan and Abikar were convicted on grounds that they abaited the attack that was pronounced as the worst on Kenyan soil since the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi which killed 213 and wounded thousands.

Rashid Charles Mberesero who was termed as the prime mastermind was handed life sentence.

Another suspect Sahal Diriy alias Sahali Diriye was freed by Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi after it was found that the prosecution did not provide enough evidence linking him to the attack.

On the other hand, the Judge was satisfied with circumstantial evidence which linked the other three suspects to the massacre.

"The court finds that they knew the plot and were part of the attackers as they were arrested while travelling from Garissa two days after the attack," the Magistrate said.

Four gunmen stormed the university at 5.30am and started to shoot randomly.

The students were getting ready for their morning prayers when the shooting began.

The terrorists first killed two security guards at the gate before entering the university. They moved through the administrative block, classrooms and dormitories as they shot at the students.

The Somali-based militia group al Shabaab later said it was taking revenge on Kenya for sending troops in Somalia.

The Kenya Defence Forces went to Somalia in 2011 to pursue the militia group following a spate of kidnappings in Kenya.

The earlier version implied the two had been sentenced afresh but it has been corrected.