Family charged with aiding terror suspect

August 4, 2008 12:00 am

, MOMBASA, August 4 – Three members of a family whom police allege are aides of wanted terror suspect Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, have been charged with harbouring and aiding his escape.

The three were arrested in Malindi over the weekend.

Fazul escaped a police dragnet just minutes before authorities stormed the house in which he was allegedly living with them.

Mahfudh Hemed Abubakar, his wife Lutfia Abubakar and their son Ibrahim Mahfudh Abubakar appeared before a Mombasa court but denied the charge.

Mombasa Chief Magistrate Catherine Mwangi remanded the three in custody until Friday when she will make a ruling on their bail application.

Superintendent Dominic Mate who is leading the prosecution told the magistrate that investigators wanted at least four more days to interrogate the suspects.

He said the officer leading the case wanted to ascertain what links the three have with Fazul, who is alleged to be the chief architect of the twin 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

At least 240 people were killed in the attacks.

The suspects are accused of habouring Fazul even though they were aware that he was also involved in the 2002 bombing of the Israeli owned Paradise Hotel in Kikambala.

Lawyer Abubakar Yusuf who is acting for the three family members challenged the bid by the prosecution to detain his clients until Friday, arguing that it is a violation of their fundamental rights.

The suspects were taken to court under heavy guard by officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit following their highly publicised weekend arrests.

They were later taken to unknown destinations after the brief court appearance for further questioning.

The police said they are still looking for Fazul who they suspect is still in the country.

Authorities in Washington believe he has been in Somalia since 2002 under the protection of Islamic extremists.

When the weekend arrests were effected, police said they had found two passports belonging to Fazul plus a laptop which could provide crucial leads in their anti–terror probe.



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