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Court allows Al-Qaeda suspects to appeal jail term

Monday, August 12, 2013

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The High Court in Malindi has allowed three foreign Al-Qaeda suspects serving a year at Shimo la Tewa to appeal the sentence imposed by a lower court.

Their lawyer, Yusuf Abubakar, argued that his clients, who are wanted in Belgium on terror charges, ought to be set free after paying a fine.

He further said that the crime of illegal entry into Kenya for which they were convicted “has the option of a fine” and slapping a custodial sentence on them was excessive.

On Friday, Justice Christine Meoli ordered Ben Abdalla Ismail (French), Mustapha Bouyabaren (Belgian) and Rachid Benomari (French) to file their appeal within 14 days following an application by Yusuf.

The lawyer argued his clients should have been fined and deported. Belgium’s judicial authorities say the trio belong to Al-Qaeda, have links with Somalia’s Al-Shabaab and were indicted along Hassan Kafi.

Interpol has characterised them as “armed and dangerous” in a Red Notice issued on July 7 this year.

According to court and Interpol records, Kafi, Mustapha Bouyabaren, Rachid Benomari and Ben Abdalla Ismail left Belgium in earlyApril 2011,and entered Kenya on April 20 after visiting various countries.


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