Two Iranians and a Kenyan who police suspect were planning to commit a terrorism attract at the Israeli Embassy in Nairobi were charged in court yesterday.
The suspects Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahimi, Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee and Moses Keyah Mboga were allegedly arrested by Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) after they were caught filming and taking photographs of the Embassy which is one of the most guarded buildings in Nairobi .
Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Joyce Gadani remanded the three suspects until December 6 when the court will rule on whether they will be released on bail pending trial.
The magistrate noted that the two foreigners do not enjoy diplomatic immunity as their lawyers had alleged. She said Kenyans have a right to know if their security is threatened and therefore opposed an attempt by defence lawyers to bar the media from taking photographs and covering proceedings.
"In the court's opinion the two suspects do not enjoy diplomatic immunity to warrant the court's protection and should therefore be remanded awaiting ATPU's detectives to complete their investigations," the magistrate ruled.
- 1 Survivors of Nigeria massacre recount a tale of horror
- 2 Mali, foreign military bases attacked in north
- 3 Massacre in jihadist-ravaged northeast Nigeria kills at least 110
- 4 Al-Shabaab's Sh3 billion tax collection web in Somalia
Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu told the court that Ebrahimi, Safaee and Mboga had visited Kamiti Maximum prison where they had gone to pay a visit to jailed Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi who were found guilty of possessing explosives, which they allegedly planned to use for an attack in the country.
The two, the court heard, pretended to be lawyers seeking to pass information to the convicts about their case.
Mohammed and Mousavi are currently serving a fifteen year jail term at the facility after the court reduced the term from life sentence following an appeal.
Ondimu said after the suspects were arrested outside the Israeli Embassy they were also found in possession of photographs and video clips of Kamiti Maximum Prison and NSSF building in what the ATPU detective said was a major plan to execute a terror attack.
The charge sheet against them stated that, "On November 29, along bishop road within Nairobi County in facilitation of a terrorist act, the three were found taking video clips of the Israeli embassy using mobile phones fitted with Micro line and 16 GB Micro SDC card, with the information intended for use in the commiting of a terrorist act."
Mboga separately faced a count of aiding a terrorist offence in which the prosecution alleged that he drove the two Iranians in a vehicle belonging to Iranians Embassy who took a video clip of the Embassy.
They however denied the charges.
Mohamed and Mousavi were arrested in June 2012 and charged with possessing 15kg (33 pounds) of the powerful explosive RDX.
They were suspected to have links with a network planning bombings major buildings in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Both were arrested at Mombasa Golf Course, in what the police said were in circumstances which indicated they were intending to commit a felony.
Their arrest coincided with assertion by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said Iran was plotting attacks against Israel in Kenya.
The arrest of the three suspects comes in the wake of a warning by Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet who on Monday said terrorism still remains a major threat in areas along the common border
The IG gave the alert following alleged plans by terror groups Al-Shabaab and ISIS to attack public service vehicles, border regions and Mombasa ahead of the festive seasons.
This is based on intelligence gathered on the groups' planned activities ahead of the Festive Season. "Daesh, also known as ISIS is equally among our major concerns.
"Available information shows that ISIS still continue to target our youths for recruitment online, but elaborate efforts have been employed to deal with the attempts of group to indoctrinate our youths," said Boinnet in a statement.
Boinett announced that the targets include security personnel and establishments along the border as well as PSVs plying routes along the border.
The IG in addition said that Al-Shaabab, which has been blamed for most of the attacks in Kenya, are splitting into smaller groups and infiltrating into the country especially in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu Counties.