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How an Iranian terrorist 'escaped' from Kamiti

Iranian nationals Sayed Mansour Mousavi and Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad at the Supreme Court on September 28, 2018. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Questions have emerged over the manner in which the two Iranians convicted of terror-related charges were released from custody and spirited out of the country at a time the country was engrossed in the general elections.

A number of convicts serving life jail terms on Friday demanded to be told the consideration extended to the Iranians Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi, leading to their release from custody before completing their 15-year jail term.

The inmates are unhappy that the two were released on clemency, a privilege, they argued, has not been extended to them even though they meet all the requirements of the law to be pardoned.

“Some of us have appealed to the President through the Power of Mercy Committee but we have not as much as received a reply,” said the inmates, through their representative, Aloice Onyango Odhiambo, an ex-convict who doubles as a paralegal represents in court proceedings.

According to Odhiambo, the two lived lavish lifestyles. They had access to cash, lived like kings in self-contained cells kitted with satellite TV services and flush toilets.

The two were held in Block A, known as the home of those convicted to serve life sentences. Because of this, the block is one of the most protected within the facility. It is secured by a special platoon of well-trained prison officers who are part of the department of security at the facility.

Although convicted, the two lived a life of privilege in the prison. They had access to all manner of food, had access to olive oil and could communicate to anyone and any time they wanted.

Those in the know say the lavish lifestyle was facilitated by their compatriots. At one time, their ambassador in Nairobi Hadi Farajvand, had to be recalled back home after the police accused him of being actively involved in elaborate planning of the escape of the two from prison.

Farajvand was allegedly seeking to connect with high-ranking government officials to help him secure the release of Mohammed and Mousavi.

At some time Odhiambo had acted for the Iranians and prepared a petition where the terrorists wanted their sentence reduced but he did not go far.

The two, believed to be members of the Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard, were arrested in 2012 in Mombasa after they were found in possession of 15kg of explosives suspected was to be used to carry out bombings in several parts of Kenya.

They were sentenced to life imprisonment the following year for possession of explosives and plotting terrorist attacks.

However, the sentence was reduced to 15 years in 2014 by the High Court but the Court of Appeal ordered the release of the two Iranians on January 26, 2018, claiming the evidence against them was circumstantial and they could not be charged with a crime.

They had been charged with three criminal counts, including plotting a terrorist attack.

The arrest of the two was to be the start of the most dramatic events that led to contradictory decisions from the courts and triggered diplomatic tension involving three countries – Kenya, Iran and Israel.

And when the huge metallic gates of Kamiti Maximum Prison were opened for the two to start their sentence, it brought to the fore the prisoners huge difference in life at the facility best known for keeping away the most hard core criminals ever convicted in Kenya.