Shockwaves as Nairobi Court Dismisses Appeal of Jailed ISIS Member

    • Landmark Decision: Nairobi Court Denies Appeal of Jailed ISIS Member

Milimani High Court Judge dismissed an appeal by Ismael Mona Otieno who was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in Prison for the offence of being a member of an outlawed group.

In his appeal, the accused person wanted the court to set aside the verdict by Senior Principal Magistrate Hon. B. Ochoi and acquit him of the offence claiming that the evidence relied upon by the prosecution was illegally obtained as investigators had not obtained warrants to search electronic gadgets (9 mobile phones) recovered from the accused person. Further the appellant argued that the prosecution did not call crucial witnesses from JKIA.

The prosecution led by Mr Kiarie presented three witnesses before court whose testimonies proved that the appellant was indeed a member of the ISIS and that he had been contracted to translate Arabic materials into Kiswahili and disseminate them to the members. They testified that he was also found in possession of 9 mobile phones that contained 100 disturbing images of dead bodies which established to be articles in committing a terrorist act.

The Judge Hon. Kanyi Kimondo ordered that the convictions for the first six counts, related to being a member of a terrorist group and possession of an article connected with the commission of a terrorist Act contrary to section 30 of the Act be upheld and the accused person to serve 10 years concurrently, while the conviction for count 7-11 related to information collection contrary to section 29 of the Act, were set aside.

Ismael Mona Otieno aka Dida Muhajir came to Counter Terrorism Division focus after he was suspected to be a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) with extremist associates in Kenya, Somalia and Syria. He was reported to have been harboring plans to travel to Syria via Turkey with the intention of joining ISIL. Reportedly he attended madrassa at Amaarifa in Kikambala in 2013 where he was radicalized. Ismael was arrested on 11th July 2019 at JKIA on his way back to Kenya from Saudi Arabia.

Following his arrest and subsequent interviews conducted on him, an in-depth and focused online investigation was instigated targeting to decrypt communication in his highly encrypted social media accounts that he used to plan, radicalize and propagate extremist materials to his online associates in Kenya, Puntland, Tanzania, Syria and DRC.

His nine (9) mobile phones confiscated at his time of arrest were subjected to online forensics with a view of establishing his associates as well as recovering any possible radical materials which Ismael might have deleted from his phones. However, the cyber experts at the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) were able to recover his deleted accounts and discovered his plans to radicalize youths with an ultimate aim of committing a terrorist attack in Kenya and its neighboring countries.

The matter was prosecuted by Mr. Kennedy Panyako, Mr. Kiprono Kibiwott and Mr. Harrison Kiarie.

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