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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,30TH OCT 2020-Two convicts Mohammed Abdi and Hussein Mustafa found guilty for being part of the conspiracy in the Westgate terror attack have been sentenced to 33 and 18 years respectively.
However Chief Magistrate Francis Andayion Friday said that the seven years that they have been in custody will be deducted from their sentences.
Abdi will then serve 26 years in jail while Mustafa will serve 11 years.
In the first count of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, they were both sentenced to 18 years.
In the second count of knowingly giving support to terrorist activity, they each received 18 years but the court said both sentences will run concurrently which means it will be 18 years for each.
Abdi was charged separately with the offense of being in possession material used in promoting terrorism which he was sentenced to serve 15 years.
Andayi said he had considered all submissions in the case including the mitigation by Abdi and Mustafa who maintained their innocence.
The court also noted that the pre-sentencing report had noted that two accused are of good character.
“The reports indicate that they are persons of good character and they maintain their innocence. Unfortunately for them, the issue of innocence is not in this case as the act has already convicted them,” he said.
Andayi said he has done many cases like this but in spite of a long time this particular one took, the accused have behaved so well.
Andayi told the two accused persons that they have a right to appeal the case at the higher courts.
The court said a terrorist act when committed has the aim of causing pain to victims and also meant to instil fear.
“The sentences I have given are commensurate to the charges and will serve as punishment to the accused,” he said.
In mitigation, the two pleaded with the court for leniency saying there are innocent.
Through their lawyers Chacha Mwita and Mbugua Mureithi, the two said they were remorseful.
However, prosecutor Edwin Okello wanted to get the maximum sentence of 20 years for each count.
Okello said the effects of the attack were so grave as innocent lives were lost, property destroyed and victims wounded.
He said this would not have happened if the two were not have been part of the scheme to attack.
The case had been adjourned last Thursday after the probation officer told the court that the pre-sentencing report is not ready as they are yet to interview some of the victims.
Probation Officer Peter Macharia said they have interviewed the two suspects Mohammed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan Mustafa.
He said he had also talked with the accused persons’ relatives and one Westgate victim.
The court, however, ordered the press not to cover any of the victims’ impact statements that have been produced in court.
Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi warned the media not to cover the statements.
The two were earlier this month found guilty of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.
One of the accused Liban Abdullahi Omar was acquitted for lack of evidence but was later abducted after being set free.
Lawyers told the court that Omar who was acquitted by Andayi was abducted a day later by unknown gunmen when in the company of his sister.
The prosecution said they are aware of the incident and informed the court that investigations are ongoing into the same.
Omar was a brother to one of the attackers and chief Magistrate Francis Andayi had earlier ruled that the communication between him and his brother does not prove that he conspired to attack Westgate Mall.