Kenya Reduces Sentence for Two Garissa University Attackers 

The prison sentences for two defendants who were convicted in Kenya’s Garissa University terror attacks have been lowered by a court.

High Court Justice Cecilia Githua has acquitted Hassan Edin Hassan and Mohamed Abdi Abikar of the crime of being members of the al-Shabab militant group, but she upheld the convictions of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. The action lowers their prison sentences from 41 years to 25-and-a-half years.

Nairobi-based security analyst Richard Tuya says the ruling is a blow in the fight against terrorism.

“The ruling is making terrorism in this country an attractive business because terrorists are rational thinkers who do a cost benefit analysis of their actions, but now, if the punishment is less than the cost, then it’s an advantage to them,” he said.

In 2019, a lower court had sentenced the duo to 25-and-a-half years for conspiracy to commission and commit a terrorist act and 15-and-a-half years for being members of al-Shabab.

On Friday, while overturning the sentence of being members of al-Shabab, the judge said the prosecution did not present evidence to prove the two terror convicts were members of the militia group.

Tuya says the ruling disregards the families of the 148 victims, however, who were killed in the 2015 attacks at Garissa University.

“To me, I feel like it is a mockery, but now you can’t blame the courts because also the court relies on evidence that has been brought before it,” he said.

While sentencing the two convicts to 25-and-a-half years in prison, the judge upheld the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution, saying it left no doubt that the two were aware of the attack plan and they were the actual perpetrators of the attack.

In 2015, four gunmen stormed Garissa University and started to shoot randomly, killing 148 people.

The Somali-based militia group al-Shabab later said it was motivated to carry out the attack against Kenya because that country sent its troops to Somalia.

Source: VOA

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