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Man jailed over fake terror alert

NAIROBI, August 11 – A man was jailed for three years Monday for sending a fake terror alert to the Chinese Embassy.

Cornel Owama Chweya admitted to the charges of incitement to violence where he was accused of sending a fax message to the Chinese Embassy on the July 10.

The charge read: “On the 10th of July in Kisumu, without lawful excuse sent a fax message to the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi, contrary to section 96(a) of the penal code, that there will be a terrorist at the said Embassy, which words meant or implied that there would be an attack at the Chinese Embassy.”

In his mitigation, Chweya told the court that he was sure that his friends were planning to bomb the Embassy and that he made the report in good faith.

“I knew police will come after me. That is why I didn’t hide my fax number. My good friends had intention to make the attack,” he said.

While sentencing him, Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate Cecilia Githua said the offence was serious as it touched on a matter of security.

Meanwhile, a Mombasa court has released three family members who had been charged with assisting alleged terrorism suspect, Fazul Abdullah, escape.

Mahfudh Ashur Hemed, his wife Luftiya Abubakar Bashrahil and their son Ibrahim Mahfudh Ashur were released Monday on a Sh1 million bond and a surety of a similar amount.

The family had been in custody at the Shimo la Tewa remand prison since their arrest a week ago.

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Chief Magistrate Catherine Mwangi also ordered them to be reporting to the Provincial Criminal Investigation Officer (PCIO), every Monday, for a month.

The magistrate dismissed an application by the anti-terrorism police, who had objected to their release claiming that they would abscond court and, at the same time, appealing for more time to conduct investigations.

She said the police did not convince the court to grant their application, and further added that an affidavit sworn by Daniel Abong’o, a police Superintendent attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was doubtful.

The trio had denied charges of harbouring Fazul, who is wanted over the November 28, 2002 bomb attack in Kikambala, while Ashur faced separate charges of helping Fazul escape punishment in February.

The charges against them stated that while knowing what one Mohammed Ali alias Abdallah Mohammed Fazul alias Abdallah Abdul Karim, alias Harun Fazul, alias Adan Hussein Ali Mizra, did on November 20, 2002, in Kikambala, they received him in Malindi in December 2007, maintained him and helped him to escape punishment.

The magistrate further ordered the case to be mentioned on Friday and to be heard on September 12 this year.


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