NAIROBI July 30 – The fate of a man convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for illegal possession of five anti-tank weapons and a hand grenade two years ago will be determined in September, when the court delivers a judgment on his appeal against the sentence.
Omar Said Omar was jailed by a Nairobi Magistrate’s court on April 4 2006, about 10-months after the High Court acquitted him and four others of murder in the al-Qaeda car bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel that killed 15 people in Kikambala in 2002.
High Court Judge Jackton Ojwang said he would deliver a ruling on September 29 in which Omar is challenging his eight-year jail sentence read by Senior Principal Magistrate Rosmelle Mutoka, in April 2006.
Omar has appealed against severity of the sentence arguing that it is too harsh.
He was charged with possessing explosives, among them rocket-launchers and assault rifles that police said were intended to be used in a possible strike on an airline.
Omar has already served two years in jail, since he was convicted in April 2006.
The Kikambala incident happened on November 28, 2002, almost at the same time as a missile was fired but narrowly missed an Israeli airliner leaving Mombasa airport.
Prosecutors did not, however, directly link Omar to that air attack during trial.
To date, no one has been convicted in either of the two cases.
The attacks have been described as the most high-profile terror incidents in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.
Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network claimed responsibility for the missile attack and bombing at the hotel, a popular destination for Israeli package tourists in Mombasa.
Al Qaeda was also blamed for the U.S. mission blast and an almost simultaneous blast at the U.S. embassy in Tanzania.
Western security companies have regarded Kenya, especially its long Indian Ocean coastline, as a potential weak flank in the U.S.-led "war on terror."