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Kenya: Terrorist Suspect Acquitted

(Sept. 30, 2008) On September 16, 2008, the High Court of Kenya acquitted Omar Said Omar in connection with the 2002 bombing of the Israel-owned Kikambala Paradise Hotel in which 15 people were killed. Justice Jackton Ojwang set aside Omar's conviction and quashed his sentence. The Justice stated that the appellant's constitutional rights had been violated by the police, who detained Omar for more than two years before his arraignment in court on October 16, 2005, and noted that the prosecution had failed to explain the delay.

A magistrate's court had found Omar guilty of “possessing a firearm, explosives and ammunition without a certificate” and sentenced him to an eight-year prison term; he was imprisoned in April 2006. For lack of evidence, four other suspects in the case were acquitted. (Caroline Rwenji & Richard Munguti, Kenya: Terror Suspect Freed As Court Quashes Jail Term, THE NATION, Sept. 16, 2008, available at In his appeal against the sentence, Omar had argued that the lower court “had relied on contradictory evidence to reach a conviction” as well as “'very poor evidence on identification' which he termed as flawed.” (Id.)