By Eric Winston/Guest Writer
An Israeli and a Moroccan detained in Kenya on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack will give sworn testimonies and call expert witnesses during their defense hearing starting September 19 2017.
Jabareen Ahmed alias Osama and Mohammed Salim alias Daud who claim to be asylum seekers arrested on transit while being smuggled to Australia, were also granted their request to have Arabic translators during the hearing.
They requested for their passports which were impounded to be released to “help them prepare for the defense hearing appropriately.”
The two suspects had requested for a translator as they still had a challenge reading and speaking in English.
The foreigners are facing various charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Mohammed Salim is facing eight counts relating to the planned attack while his accomplice, Jabareen, is charged with three counts.
They are accused of having been in possession of articles related to terrorism, and collecting information for use in planning and executing a terror attack.
They had previously pleaded guilty to being in the country illegally and are already serving a one-year jail term.
Police are said to have released the man who smuggled the suspects into the country, an agent identified only as Osman, under unclear circumstances.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had sought to intervene in the case after the suspects’ lawyer had claimed that they were victims of human trafficking and had nothing to do with terrorism.
Lawyer Hassan Nandwa said his clients had applied to the United Nations as refugees and asylum seekers.
Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi ruled that Jabereen Ahmed alias Osama and Mohammed Salim alias Daud be put on their defence saying the prosecution had proved its case against them beyond reasonable doubt.
The foreigners are charged with various counts under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Osama faces three counts while his suspected accomplice faces eight counts relating to the planned attack.
“The court have found that they have a case to answer and now directs that they choose whether to give a sworn defence, unsworn or remain silent,” the magistrate said.
Police arrested the Israeli and the Moroccan and accuse them of being found in possession of articles related to terrorism, and collecting information for use in planning and executing a terror attack.
They are already serving a one year jail term for being found in the country illegally after being convicted on their own plea of guilty.
UNHCR wants to intervene in the case after a lawyer representing the suspects claimed they had nothing to with terrorism but were victims of circumstances, read human trafficking.
Lawyer Hassan Nandwa says the suspects applied to the UN as refugees and asylum seekers.
‘They were smuggled to Kenya and were heading to Australia for work through an agent identified only as Osman who received them while on transit before they fell into the hands of the police,” the lawyer told Justicenow.co.ke shortly after the court session.
UNHCR wants to access them to analyze whether they qualify for refugee status.
The commission’s lawyer told the trial court that a court order is required to access prison facilities.
Police are said to have arrested the suspects in the company of their link-man, Osman, who was but released under unclear circumstances.
The foreigners have also claimed the police snatched 7000USD from them when they were in 2014 arrested in along Kamiti Road in Nairobi while on the suspected surveillance mission.
Magistrate Andayi overruled the request and told UNHCR that the application to access prisons “does not fall within the jurisdiction of the trial court.”