NAIROBI, Sep 13 – A court in Kenya on Friday acquitted alleged British Islamist militant Jermaine Grant of robbery charges, but his separate trial for possession of explosives continues, magistrates said.
Grant was tried on charges including robbery with violence and raiding a police station over an incident in 2008, when he was arrested trying to enter war-torn Somalia dressed as a woman and later escaped custody in a shootout.
A court in the Kenyan capital Nairobi said those charges had not been proved.
“The prosecution has failed to establish the case against him beyond reasonable doubt,” magistrate Kiarie Wa Kiarie told the court.
Grant, who is accused of ties to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents, was arrested again in December 2011 in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa with various chemicals, batteries and switches, which prosecutors say he planned to use to make explosives.
Prosecutors accused Grant, a 30 year-old Muslim convert, of working with fellow Briton Samantha Lewthwaite — the fugitive widow of British suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people.
Lewthwaite, a 29-year-old mother of three and daughter of a British soldier, is wanted by Kenyan police.
Grant is charged along with his Kenyan wife, Warda Breik Islam, and two other Kenyans.
He has denied the charges.
However, in December 2011 he pleaded guilty to charges of being in the country illegally and lying about his nationality, for which he was sentenced to two jail terms of two years, to run concurrently.
His trial in Mombasa, which has been beset by delays, is due to resume on September 23.
Grant is believed to have become radicalised as a teenager in the same British prison where “shoe bomber” Richard Reid first turned to Islam.
Reid, who claimed he was an Al-Qaeda recruit, is serving a life sentence in the United States for trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001.