DPP to appeal acquittal of Westgate terror suspect Liban Omar

Westgate Mall terror attack suspect Liban Abdulleh Omar leaves the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi on October 7, 2020 following his acquittal. 

What you need to know:

  • As Mr Haji plans to appeal the ruling by Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, Mr Omar’s family has given up hope of tracing the man who has been in and out of court for the last seven years.
  • Mr Omar was abducted by a group of hooded men who introduced themselves as State security agents on October 9, minutes after the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit handed him over to his family.

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji is set to appeal the acquittal of Westgate mall terror attack suspect Liban Omar, who was abducted last Friday, a few hours after being declared a free man.

As Mr Haji plans to appeal the ruling by Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, Mr Omar’s family has given up hope of tracing the man who has been in and out of court for the last seven years.

Interestingly, the prosecution could be required to produce Mr Omar in court should the DPP proceed with the appeal.

State prosecutor Edwin Okello has written to the court’s  executive officer and deputy registrar indicating that the DPP’s office will challenge Mr Andayi’s decision at the High Court, even as two other individuals convicted of the 2013 attack await their sentencing on October 22.

“We request to be supplied with certified copies of the proceedings and judgement to enable us to lodge an appeal,” Mr  Okello stated in his correspondence to the court dated October 13.

Mr Omar was abducted by a group of hooded men who introduced themselves as State security agents on October 9, minutes after the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit handed him over to his family.

He was on his way home with his sister and other relatives when a black Subaru intercepted the taxi they were travelling in.

Taxi driver Titus Mutiso was left stranded for close to three hours but eventually called a towing company which took his vehicle home.

Mr Omar’s family reported the abduction to Capitol Hill Police Station, the nearest facility to Hospital Road, where the abduction took place.

Family’s claims

Mr Omar is from Somalia and had been living in Kakuma refugee camp.

His lawyer Mbugua Mureithi said the family has been in touch with relatives in Somalia, who say they have not seen or heard from him.

“They are now waiting for Allah to intervene and bring to service their abducted kin. They have also not heard anything from the police, whom they are in constant touch with,” Mr Mureithi told the Nation.

He wondered how the State will appeal without the suspect because he must be produced in court during the hearing.

The lawyer insists that DPP Mr Haji’s office knows Mr Omar’s whereabouts.

In response to Mr Okello’s letter to the court, Mr Mbugua urges the DPP to order Inspector-General of Police (IG) Hillary Mutyambai to investigate the kidnapping allegedly staged by police.

“It is in the mutual interest of the DPP and Mr Omar that he invokes Article 157 (4) of the Constitution and directs the IG to cause an urgent investigation into the abduction of Mr Omar and secure him from the abductors for justice and the rule of law to prevail in the intended appeal,” Mr Mureithi says in his response to the DPP.

Four other acquitted suspects whom Mr Mureithi represented over a separate terror attack went missing in similar fashion two years ago.

They eventually resurfaced in Somalia and said they had been irregularly deported.

rmunguti@ke.nationmedia.com