, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – Security at Supreme Court was beefed up Friday afternoon as Justices Mohammed Ibrahim and Prof Jackton Ojwang delivered a ruling in a petition seeking to overturn the acquittal of two Iranian terror suspects by the Court of Appeal.
Armed police officers were seen pacing along the corridors of the top court shortly before the two judges commenced delivering a ruling on behalf of a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice David Maraga.
Justice Ojwang started reading a majority verdict of three at about 2.30pm with Justice Ibrahim set to outline the dissenting opinion of two judges.
The Supreme Court had stayed a Court of Appeal decision acquitting two terror suspects in September last year.
Ahmad Mohammed and Sayeed Mousavi had been convicted of three terrorism-related charges after they were found in possession of 15 kilograms of cyclotrimethyle trinitramine, a lethal chemical used to assemble explosives, in June 2012.
The two suspects had secured their freedom at the Court of Appeal after lodging a second appeal, the High Court having upheld a guilty verdict rendered by a Magistrate’s Court.
Justices Daniel Musinga, Roselyn Nambuye, and Steven Gatembu set Mohammed and Mousavi free in February 2018 citing insufficient evidence adduced by the prosecution.
In allowing the prosecution’s application for appeal, Chief Justice David Maraga, Justices Jackton Ojwang, Mohammed Ibrahim, Njoki Ndung’u and Smokin Wanjala said the acquittal of the Iranians had set a bad precedent.
The Supreme Court judges said the acquittal would undermine investigations of similar cases in the future.
Further, the judges noted that the case touched on national security, and as a matter of public interest the appeal ought to be granted.
The case took a new twist last month when the top Iranian diplomat in the country was accused of attempting to facilitate the escape of the two Iranians from the country.
The foreign envoy denied the allegations.
“I was the one who reported to the Interior Ministry that there were two people who approached me to prepare the departure of the two Iranian nationals saying they would be released,” Ambassador Hadi Farajvand said.
According to Farajvand, the two people asked for an unspecified amount of money, a request he declined.
“These people who said they were acting on behalf of the Interior Ministry asked me for money. They however did not say how much money they wanted and immediately I realised they wanted a bribe which I did not offer,” Farajvand said on February 25.
On Wednesday, a Resident Magistrate allowed the detention of two suspects involved in the alleged plot to facilitate the escape of the Iranians from the country.
Wesley Kiptanui Kipkemoi (a prison warder) and Shemgrant Agyei, a Ghanaian businessman, were detained on orders of Milimani Resident Magistrate Zainabu Abdul.
The magistrate released Bundi Nyangarasi, an advocate accused of colluding with the two, on a Sh100,000 bail directing him to report to the police regularly.
Anti-Terrorism Police Unit had made the request to have the three detained as they sought the help of technology experts to recover CCTV footage of the suspects’ alleged meetings to plan the release of the Iranians.