KENYAN MUSLIM CLERIC FACING TERROR CHARGES

Nairobi, 4 Rajab 1435/3 May 2014 (MINA) –  A Kenyan court on Friday denied bail to a Kenyan Muslim cleric of Somali descent and his wife, both of whom facing terror charges after being found in possession of two hand grenades in Nairobi’s Eastleigh district.

Sheikh Hassan Mahati Omar and his wife, Fardousa Mohamed Abdi, were brought before Magistrate Elena Nderitu on Friday, who denied them bail, citing “security concerns.”

“The accused are charged with terror-related offences; this, coupled with the evidence on oath by the investigating officer,” Nderitu said in a statement, Anadolu quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

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“In light of the current state of security, releasing the accused on bond will diminish public confidence in the administration of justice,” she added.

“The prevailing state of security demands that the accused person to be not released on bail. In the meantime, the application [for bail] is declined,” the magistrate ruled.

Omar, an imam at an Eastleigh mosque, was arrested with his wife in a police swoop conducted one day after the area was rocked by multiple bombings, which claimed six lives and injured dozens.

Their arrest also came hours after a Muslim cleric was killed by unknown assailants in the seaside town of Mombasa.

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The couple is accused of belonging to Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militant group, aiding Al-Shabaab members and possessing illegal weapons.

Eastleigh, home to thousands of Somali refugees, has recently been the target of a massive police crackdown that has seen thousands of people detained for security screening.

The crackdown has been met with criticism by local Muslim clerics, political leaders and human rights activists, who say it discriminates against Muslims and people of Somali origin.

Interior Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku, for his part, defends the security operation, insisting that the government is acting within the law.

The East Africa nation has experienced a spate of terror attacks since sending troops to Somalia in 2011. (T/P04/E01)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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