No more mentioning of ‘white widow’ case, court rules

Wednesday March 16 2016

Samantha Lewthwaite (White Widow), one of the world’s most-wanted woman terrorist. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Samantha Lewthwaite (White Widow), one of the world’s most-wanted woman terrorist. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The mentioning of a case against British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite dubbed the ‘white widow’ who is facing terrorism related charges has been stopped by a Mombasa court.

However, an arrest warrant against her will remain in force.

Mombasa chief magistrate Julius Nang’ea said on Wednesday the case has been mentioned many times without any progress.

“There will be no further mention (of the case) until the court is moved appropriately,” said Mr Nang’ea in his short ruling.

Last month, the court had ordered that the case be mentioned on Wednesday for the last time.

Ms Lewthwaite and her Kenyan accomplice Habib Saleh Gani, alias Abu Osama, were charged with being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony at a Mombasa court four years ago.

Prosecuting counsel Lydia Kagori had told the court that she had no instructions to withdraw the case despite having consulted with the in charge Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions.
Ms Kagori said police are trailing the accused and the reason they are adamant to withdraw the case is that a Red Notice (international warrant of arrest) against the suspects would not be effective.

“The international community will be unable to assist us (if the case is withdrawn), we are ready to bring an officer to court to testify,” said Ms Kagori.

The court had taken note that the case will continue to be mentioned as a “ritual” with nothing happening.

Previously, the court was told that warrants of arrests against the suspects who were charged in absentia have been issued locally and internationally.

The two terror suspects allegedly, jointly with others before court, were found in possession of acetone, hydrogen peroxide, ammonium nitrate, sulphur, four size AA batteries, an electronic switch and a current conducting wire.

They also allegedly jointly with others before court conspired to improvise an explosive device with intent to cause harm to innocent citizens.

According to the prosecution, the offences were committed on December 20, 2011 at around 1.30am in Kisauni, Mombasa.

The charges were first filed in court on January 4, 2012 and have since been mentioned more than 35 times before different magistrates for the last four years.

The prosecution has at all times been applying for mention dates when the case is in court.

In December last year, another British terror suspect Jermaine Grant was sentenced to nine years imprisonment following his conviction by the High Court which had set aside a decision by a magistrate to acquit him.

Mr Grant had been charged at the magistrate’s court with making a false statement for registration of birth, three counts of procuring execution of a document by false pretences and attempt to procure registration by false pretences.