Magistrate and prosecutor clash over viewing of terrorism videos
By Willis Oketch
| May 3rd 2016
A magistrate and prosecutor clashed in a Mombasa court over the production of video tapes linked to suspected Al Shabaab brides.
Police had claimed that they found the tapes of the three Kenyan women and one Zanzibari, who they alleged were plotting to join Al Shabaab in Somalia, when they were arrested in April and May last year.
Maryam Said Aboud, Ummulkheir Sadri Abdalla, Khadija Abubakar Abdulakadir and Halima Adan are facing multiple terrorism charges including being members of Al Shabaab and possessing terrorist materials. Police have now claimed they found on them tapes containing speeches by slain radical islamist Sheikh Aboud Rogo, Osama bin Laden and materials promoting Islamic State.
Sheikh Rogo, who was on a list of most-wanted terrorists was killed in Mombasa on August 27, 2012.
The tapes were allegedly recovered from one of the suspect's laptops, according to court records.
Trouble between Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Simon Rotich and Principal Prosecutor Eugene Wangila began when Mr Rotich objected to the viewing of a cassette of Rogo's speeches last Friday.
The magistrate said he should have seen them before witnesses could be cross examined. An IT forensic expert, Inspector Nicholas Waringa, who produced the tape as evidence, was stood down after the magistrate's objection, sparking a heated argument between the magistrate and prosecutor.
"The laptop had photographs and videos, which are of interest in terrorism matters, and are used in instigating terrorism crime," said Mr Wangila, before the interruption.
Wangila told the court there were six videos linked to terrorism
"As far as I am concerned, some of these preachings are very serious and I would like you to give me the tape to go and watch it first to make me understand what to expect during the cross examination," said Rotich.
Rotich also stunned the prosecution when he said he had some clips of terrorists on his cellphone including some from the January 15 attack on Kenyan soldiers in El Adde, Somalia.
"Among the tapes, which are being watched by many in the county, is the recent attack on Kenyan soldiers in Somalia," said Rotich.
However, Wangila warned the magistrate over the remarks and urged him to refrain.
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