Kenyan terrorist suspect granted bail as state links him to Al-Qaeda terrorist group
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A Mombasa court has released on bond terror suspect Richard Lazaro Kivatsi, even as the state tabled new evidence linking him to Al-Qaeda fighters in Mozambique.
The state, has claimed that a ballistic analysis of Mr Kivatsi’s two mobile phones, indicate that he has been in close contact with two Kenyans, Mr Alfan Ali Juma and Mr Salim Rashid, who are alleged to have fled to the Southern African country to join the terror group.
The two, the court was told, are facing terror related offences in Mombasa and Shanzu courts, under PMCR1558 /2018 and 971/2020, but escaped to Mozambique, after they were granted bond by the respective trial courts.
“These two accused persons who are charged with terror offences, are out on bond and have breached the bond terms by not attending court and are at large to date. Intelligence reports indicate that the two are in Mozambique fighting for Al-Qaeda Anti -terror Police Unit officer Dickson Ndaru told the court.
The court was also informed that the latest developments was obtained following, a preliminary exploitation by ICT experts at ATPU Nairobi, of the accused two mobile phones recovered from him during his arrest.
Mr Ndaru has told the court that the suspect has used his phones to disseminate messages radicalizing people to join the militants.
He further claimed that it is believed that Mr Kivatsi has radicalized youth in Likoni, Majengo Mapya and Shimanzi, where he has been working as a casual labourer.
“We have intelligence reports that some of the persons he has radicalized have crossed the border to Somalia and Mozambique, to engage in terror related activities vial illegitimate routes along our Coastal porous borders, thus has the capacity and incentive to use the same routes within his knowledge to jump bail,” said the investigator.
Mr Ndaru also claimed that the suspect is a flight risk, as he has no fixed abode ad children and that the person he associates with, have failed to adhere to the bond terms, adding that there was a reasonable suspicion he will also go underground.
Mr Kivatsi has been charged with being a member of Shabaab, an offence he has vehemently denied. The state allege that the suspect was found to be a member of the Somalia-based militants on March 11, in Shimanzi
However, the court has rejected prosecution’s call for his continued detention, noting that his constitutional rights to be presented in court within the 24-hours was violated by the state.
Mombasa Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti granted Mr Kivatsi bond arguing that the prosecution has not availed any evidence to prove he has attempted to interfere or intimidated any witnesses or demonstrated how he will interfere with analysis of the call data by the ATPU ICT experts in Nairobi.
Further, the court ruled that the state has adequate resources to analyze the telephone date from the accused’s phones and Sim cards and, gather relevant evidence while the suspect enjoys his right to liberty.
“The prosecution has not indicated that there is evidence of intelligence gathering with other criminal justice agencies nationally, regionally or internationally that point out that the accused is a dangerous terrorist suspect.” said Ms Nyaloti.
The magistrate, further noted that the state has not availed warrant of arrests against Mr Juma and Mr Rashid, and has also failed to demonstrate that Mr Kivatsi is closely connected with them, or that he is an accomplice in the two cases. The prosecution, she said, has also not produced any messages retrieved from the accused’s mobile phones.
“I am satisfied that the prosecution has not established compelling reasons to limit the accused’s right to liberty. The prosecution has not charged the accused with any offence of radicalization. He may be released on a bond of Sh200,000 with one surety of a similar amount,” she said.
The magistrate has directed Mr Kivatsi to report to the ATPU after every 14 days.
The state had informed the court that the accused has information that might help in arresting accomplices, who are still at large.
ATPU claimed that a brief interfere with Mr Kivatsi has established that he has been in touch with a number of well-known suspected terrorists based in Somalia and in Kenya
The detectives have claimed that electronics recovered from the accused contain articles believed to be used in radicalization and likely to instigate a terrorist act.
It is also claimed that intelligence report indicated that the accused is involved in recruitment of persons to participate in terrorism activities including joining terror groups.
However, the suspect’s advocate Chacha Mwita has discredited the prosecution’s claims terming the same as baseless. The court has agreed with Mr Chacha that the state has not provided compelling reasons to limit the accused’ liberty.
Source: All Africa