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06NAIROBI1500 2006-04-04 14:18:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nairobi
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1. (SBU) In the first successful Kenyan prosecution of a
terror suspect, 2002 Kikambala bombing defendant Omar Said
Omar was found guilty April 4 and sentenced to 8 years in
prison. Although exonerated in June 2005 for his role in the
deadly 2002 terror attacks, Said had been immediately
re-arrested on five related counts (ref B). The court today
found Omar guilty on three charges: illegal possession of
firearms, illegal possession of explosives, and illegal
possession of ammunition. He was acquitted on two counts of
making a document without authority, and "uttering"
(atempting to present or use) a false document. Omar's
prosecution and conviction are direct results of the
successful collaborative effort of the short-lived Joint
Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), whose 2005 visit to Mombasa
helped secur the conclusive evidence needed for Omar's
arrest and prosecution on additional charges stemming from
the suicide-bombing of an Israeli-frequented hotel in
Kikambala and the simultaneous failed SAM attack on an
Israeli charter jet at nearby Mombasa International Airport.

2. (U) Nairobi Magistrate Mutoka announced the verdict to a
courtroom packed with Omar's family members, Islamic
scholars, and media. Omar's sentence of 8 years for each of
the charges will likely be served simultaneously, with the
time he has already spent in custody (since August 1, 2003)
to be taken into account. During the court proceeding, the
defense immediately made clear its intent to appeal the
verdict within the allowed two-week window.

3. (C) COMMENT: Omar's prosecution is an example of how
successful the Kenyan Government can be in investigating and
prosecuting terrorism-related cases, given the proper
encouragement and coordination. With Omar headed to prison,
we now have a clear JTTF success to highlight when pressing
the Kenyans on counter-terrorism cooperation -- both among
their stovepiped agencies and internationally. END COMMENT.