, MOMBASA, Kenya, Jan 29 – A Kenyan court acquitted a suspected British Islamist militant of nine charges Wednesday but the key charge of terrorism for which he is on trial remains, a magistrate said.
Suspected radical Jermaine Grant, accused of plotting bomb attacks and having ties to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab, was arrested in December 2011 in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa with chemicals, batteries and switches.
Magistrate Anastacia Ndungu told a Mombasa court that he must be acquitted of nine charges, including trying to falsely register as a Kenyan citizen.
“A conviction cannot be founded on mere suspicion however strong,” she said.
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.
Grant pleaded guilty in December 2011 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.
The trial continues.
Prosecutors have accused Grant, a Muslim convert, of working with fellow Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the “White Widow”.
Lewthwaite is the widow of British suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people. Her whereabouts are unknown.