Court dismisses appeal by Kenya terror attack convicts

A Kenyan court has dismissed an appeal by two men who are serving long sentences for their role in the 2015 Garissa University College attack, which left 148 people dead.

Judge Cecilia Githua said Hassan Edin Hassan and Mohammed Abdi Abikar would spend 41 years in jail as their appeal had not shown that the magistrates’ court had erred in giving out the long sentences

The two Kenyans were convicted in 2019, while Rashid Mberesero, a Tanzanian national, received a life sentence before taking his own life in 2020.

They were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack and of belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked group, al-Shabab, but they appealed against the magistrates’ court ruling.

But in her ruling, the high court judge said the punishment was lenient considering the “heinous, premeditated acts that caused much suffering to families of the victims”

The two can appeal against the judgement in the Court of Appeal within two weeks.

The attack at the university which killed mainly students, was the second-deadliest attack by the group in Kenya.

The al-Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in 1998 killed more than 200 people.

This case has been long-running and beset by many adjournments since the convicts were arrested soon after the April 2015 attack at the university.

And today was no different, the court was briefly disrupted as the judge delivered her judgement via video link, after her connection was lost.

The convicts, who were listening silently to the ruling from prison, briefly chatted with each other as the court waited for the judge to get back online.

And then the court clerk also got lost in translation, as she interpreted to Swahili the verdict to the two who were dressed in a black and white striped prison uniform

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