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Muslim preacher accused of coordinating terrorism attacks want bond

COUNTIES
By BY FRED MAKANA | April 25th 2014

BY FRED MAKANA

Nairobi, Kenya: A Nairobi court has been asked not to release a Muslim preacher accused of coordinating terrorism attacks on bond.

Senior Principal Magistrate Ellena Nderitu was informed by Anti-Terrorism Police Unit that Hassan Mahat Omar and his wife Fardosa Mohamed Abdi are a great threat to the wellbeing of millions of Kenyans. Ms Nderitu was further informed that preacher Omar will source grenades and other explosives for use in executing terrorism activities across the country.

Prosecutor Chief Inspector Isaiah Mwirang’a, while opposing the release of the two on bond, asked the court to take judicial notice of the recent spate of terror attacks which have caused deaths and maiming of thousands of innocent Kenyans.

He said once the accused are out they were likely to execute such attacks or interfere with prosecution witnesses. Mr Mwiranga also told court that the accused were likely to jump bail to escape the harsh penalty pronounced upon conviction.

“The nature of the offence against the accused attracts a life sentence upon conviction. This alone will entice the accused to catch the first flight to escape the wrath of the law and jurisdiction of this court. Similarly the defence is aware that this court has no mechanism to monitor the accused while out on bail,” said Mwirang’a.

The prosecutor said the prosecution is willing to have the trial of the two expedited and concluded in the shortest time possible.

He noted that the grounds highlighted in affidavit by the investigating officer are enough to warrant the court to deny the accused bail.

The two are accused of being members of Al Shabaab terrorist group and being in possession of stealthy weapons which were meant for mass destruction but they have denied the charges leveled against them.

However in his submissions to have the accused admitted to bail, defence lawyer Winston Ngaira asked the court to ignore the averments by the prosecution and admit the accused to bond ‘since the offence against them is bailable’.

Quoting Article 49(1) (h) of the constitution Mr Ngaira asked the court to exercise its discretion and release the couple on bond as it is their constitutional right.

“The first accused is a preacher at a known mosque and above all the reasons advanced by the prosecution to oppose bail are merely speculative. The prosecution must show the nexus between the couple and the latest terror attacks,” stated Mr Ngaira. He said the accused are ready to comply with all conditions imposed by the court once released on bail.

The investigating officer Claus Shuma had filed an affidavit impressing upon the court not to release the accused on bond. He stated in the affidavit that police had information that over 20 grenades had been sneaked into the country by Al-Shabaab operatives and they were destined to some key Islamic religious teachers in Nairobi.

Shuma also informed court that it is through that information ATPU officers raided the house of the accused on April 1 and recovered two grenades which led to their arrest. He said the current series of attacks by Al-Shabaab operatives in the country was a clear demonstration that the two are a threat to national security.

The magistrate is expected give a ruling on whether the couple will be released on bond or not on May 2.

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