MOMBASA, Kenya, Mar 30 – An alleged Kenyan ivory smuggler was refused bail by a Mombasa court Monday in a reversal of an earlier decision granting his release on medical grounds.
Feisal Mohamed Ali was arrested in Tanzania in December and extradited to Kenya to face trial for possession of and dealing in elephant tusks weighing more than two tonnes – equivalent to at least 114 slaughtered elephants and worth an estimated $4.5 million (Sh400mn).
A magistrate in the port city of Mombasa ordered Ali’s release on a Sh10 million ($110,000) bond in mid-March prompting angry protests from conservationists and a High Court appeal by State prosecutors.
On Monday High Court Justice Martin Muya blocked the release of Ali, who had remained in custody during the appeal process.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions has proved (its case) on the balance of probability,” said Muya, agreeing with prosecutor Alexander Muteti, who had argued that Ali was a flight risk.
“The issue of sickness of the respondent and urgent treatment raised by the defence counsel can be handled by the state while he remains in custody,” he added, rejecting defence claims that Ali should be released on medical grounds. READ: DPP appeals Sh10mn bond for ‘ivory kingpin’.
Prosecutors allege that Ali is a key player in an organised crime network stretching from African parks to Asian markets, where demand for ivory is high. Before his arrest Ali figured on an Interpol “Most Wanted” list of suspects linked to crimes against the environment.