'PLOTTED LARGE-SCALE USE OF ANTHRAX'

Bioterror suspects tell court to halt trial over evidence

They say the electronic evidence assembled by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit was obtained illegally

In Summary

• They are Dr Mohamed Abdi Ali, his wife Nuseiba Hajji, Abdirahman Hassan and Salah Khalif

• High Court told the trial judge allowed three FBI agents to testify after defence lawyers walked out in protest.

Bioterror suspects tell court to halt trial over evidence
Bioterror suspects tell court to halt trial over evidence

Four terror suspects want their trial stopped over alleged illegality in the way evidence against them was obtained. 

Mohamed Abdi Ali, alias Shuhadaa; his wife Nuseiba Mohamed Hajji, alias Umm Fidaa; Abdirahman Idris Hassan, alias Zakariya, and Salah Mohamed Khalif, alias Salahudin, were charged with plotting to carry out a large-scale biological attack in the country using anthrax. 

Through lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Charles Mandowo, they say the electronic evidence assembled by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit was obtained illegally.

They made the application before Justice Luka Kimaru. The lawyers also say the trial court allowed three FBI agents to testify in the proceedings after defence lawyers walked out in protest.

The lawyers had wanted to be given the agents' statements so they could familiarise themselves and prepare adequately before the trio testified.

Kilukumi said allowing the case to continue without legal representation for the suspects denied them their right to a fair trial. Chief magistrate Martha Mutuku is hearing the case.

“The court was surrounded by policemen, white and black, and you would think we were in Guantanamo Bay,” Kilukumi said.

Ali had completed his Medicine course and was an intern at the Makueni County Referral Hospital. He was arrested at Pumwani registration of persons’ offices, Nairobi. he was applying for a national ID. His lawyer, Mandowo, said his birth certificate and his father’s death certificate were confiscated.

His wife was picked from a plane at Entebbe Airport in Uganda by Uganda police on May 5, 2016. She was handed over to the Kenya police and her laptop and phone confiscated before she was brought to Nairobi.

Kilukumi told Kimaru that the ATPU did not initiate any extradition proceedings in Uganda before bringing Umm Fidaa to Kenya, hence their action amounted to abduction.

The lawyer said police violated her rights by failing to inform her of the reasons for her arrest and denying her opportunity to contact her lawyer.

The evidence in the laptop and phone obtained from her could have been distorted, Kilukumi added.

“The trial is irretrievably unfair because she was not accorded legal representation, which would have prevented insertion or manufacture of incriminating material into her electronic gadgets as evidence against her,” he said.

“If you exclude the evidence, you'll give police a reason to abide by the Constitution. Terrorism must be fought within the four corners of the Constitution.”

The ATPU says, however, that Dr Ali’s network included medical experts helping in organising the attack. His wife was a student in Uganda. Police accuse her of recruiting members into Jihadi and violent extremism. Members of a WhatsApp group are listed as witnesses.

The four suspects have been denied bail and bond and are remanded in different prisons. The case will be heard between July 23 and 25.

(Edited by F'Orieny)