Grenade attack man gets death sentence

The judge said four grenades were hurled into the club.

Friday March 11 2016

Thabit Jamaldin Yahya listens to Judge Martin Muya's verdict on December 1, 2015 at a Mombasa court. He has been sentenced to hang after being found guilty of murdering Ms Mary Cheptirim at Bella Vista Club in May 2012. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Thabit Jamaldin Yahya listens to Judge Martin Muya's verdict on December 1, 2015 at a Mombasa court. He has been sentenced to hang after being found guilty of murdering Ms Mary Cheptirim at Bella Vista Club in May 2012. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PHILIP MUYANGA
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A man found guilty of taking part in a grenade attack at a popular entertainment spot in Mombasa has been sentenced to death.

A security guard died in the attack on Bella Vista Club, which took place four years ago.

Justice Martin Muya said he was convinced that Thabit Jamaldin Yahya participated in the raid.

The judge said from evidence given by witnesses, four grenades were hurled into the club.

“I am satisfied that the accused was at the scene of the attack. He received injuries and was taken to hospital with other victims,” Justice Muya said.

The prosecution called 31 witnesses in its case against Yahya who denied killing Mary Cheptirim.

Justice Muya said proving the death of the guard did not require a death certificate. He said a post mortem report was enough.

The defence said nobody saw Yahya hurl a grenade at the premises and that his identification by a witness after seeing him on television was unprocedural.

A bouncer at the club said while on duty on May 15, 2012 he encountered two men who refused to be frisked.

Another witness who worked with FBI told the court that she received exhibits, including a toothbrush, which matched Mr Yahya’s DNA.

THREATENED
Before the sentence was read, the prosecutor — Mr Jami Yamina — urged the court to treat Yahya as a first offender.

“I have consulted the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and confirmed he has no previous record of crime. He should be treated as a first time offender,” Mr Yamina said.

Yahya’s lawyer Chacha Mwita said his client had suffered a lot while in detention.

Mr Chacha applied to be supplied with copies of the judgment and said he would appeal against the sentence.

A driver was arrested and made to give evidence against Yahya. Mr Joseph Mwaura had refused to do so, claiming his life was in danger.

He said he had been called by a person on a private number who told him not to attend court or report to police.

Mr Mwaura added that the person said he knew his family.

The witness said he had been called twice but by the time he received the first call, he had not been told by police officers to attend court.

“I did not report to the police because the person said he knew me,” Mr Mwaura said.

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