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Court frees four suspects in JKIA explosives attack at Java

Four terror suspects who had been detained over the blast that shocked travellers at the Java coffee shop at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) four years ago are now free men.

Pronouncing their freedom Monday, Chief Magistrate Roselyn Onganyo said the prosecution, which purely relied on circumstantial evidence, failed to link Hassan Abdi Mohammed, Mohammed Osman Ali, Yusuf Warsame and Gerad Hassan Ali to the blast that rocked Java restaurant within JKIA.

And immediately she ordered their release, a State prosecutor Duncan Ondimu applied for a stay of the judgement but defence lawyers Mbugua Mureithi and Ishmael Nyaribo vehemently opposed it saying “it amounts to detention of the already freed suspects”.

But Ms Onganyo, in a brief ruling said there was no law which the court could invoke to stay an acquittal.

NO EYE WITNESSES

Rendering her decision, Ms Onganyo said the prosecution did not call eye witnesses who could place the accused at the scene of the blast.

She also the prosecution failed to prove that the four had in their possession TNT explosives which had been dumped in a dustbin at the Java restaurant.

“Although a security officer shot at the vehicle which was suspected to have ferried the explosives to the scene immediately after the blast while leaving the airport, police did not identify a man who had died inside the vehicle,” Ms Onganyo stated.

She said the man who was wearing a white shirt and a black pair of trousers is suspected to be the one who dropped the explosives at the scene.

WAITER’S EVIDENCE

“A waiter at Java said on the night of the blast he had served a man wearing a white shirt and a black pair of trousers. Police did not establish his identity after finding him dead at the rear seat of the saloon car,” Ms Onganyo said.

The magistrate further said the Shauri Moyo OCPD was the first to arrive at the scene where the vehicle had been abandoned.

She said the vehicle recovered by police belonged to Hassan Abdi, who admitted he used to conduct taxi business and that on the material day on January 16, 2014, he had hired it out to Osman.

The magistrate said police could not establish that two of the four suspects were residing in a house rented from Mr Hassan Ali in Eastleigh Estate from where they were assembling the explosives used in various blasts.

She acquitted all the suspects under Section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Code for failure by the State to prove the case against them.

The magistrate directed that all the explosives recovered by police be surrendered to the government.

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