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A US court sentences Ibrahim Akasha 23 years in jail over drug trafficking

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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,11TH JAN 2020-One of the  Akasha brothers  accused of drug trafficking and whose trial has been ongoing in the US  who is  Kenyan confessed drug trafficker Ibrahim Akasha  has been handed  23-year prison sentence.This brings to an end the long case which has been ongoing for several years.

The Daily Nation reports that his  defence attorney, Dawn Cardi, who was surprised and stunned with the sentence handed to his client , called the punishment “outrageous and totally unwarranted” following the two-hour session in a New York courtroom.

Ms Cardi had urged presiding Judge Victor Marrero to impose a 10-year sentence rather than the 25-year term meted out to the elder Akasha brother, Baktash, in August.

US prosecutors had sought sentences of life imprisonment for both brothers. The terms given to the Akashas nonetheless stand as a victory for the US Justice Department.

Ibrahim was merely an assistant to Baktash, Ms Cardi maintained on Friday, describing the older Akasha brother as the ringleader and mastermind of the smuggling network.

The defence lawyer pointed out that Ibrahim was just 10 years old when his father was shot dead in Amsterdam, leaving Baktash in charge of the Akasha drug network.

Ms Cardi further characterised Ibrahim’s role as merely that of a “chauffeur and delivery man.”

The attorney noted that Shahbaz Khan, a Pakistani drug trafficker who sought to smuggle thousands of kilograms of heroin into the US, had received only a 15-year sentence last November in the same federal district court in New York.

Ibrahim and Baktash Akasha pleaded guilty in October 2018 to charges of conspiring to ship 99 kilograms of heroin into the United States.

None of that heroin actually reached the US, Ms Cardi pointed out on Friday. She said her client had been snared in a sting operation orchestrated by US government narcotics agents.

Ibrahim, 31, showed no reaction upon hearing the length of a prison term that must have come as a shock to him.

Shackled at the ankles and wearing a beige prison shirt, Ibrahim had earlier expressed remorse in a barely audible voice.

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