One of the suspects linked to the Westgate terror attack of September 21, 2013, Liban Abdullah Omar, has been freed over lack of evidence.
In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi stated that the court had granted the second accused the benefit of doubt as the evidence presented showed no connection to terror activities.
“I give the second accused the benefit of doubt in communicating with his brother who was one of the attackers. Not everyone who speaks with the accused is guilty,” reads an excerpt from the ruling
On the other hand, the 1st and 4th accused, Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan Mustafah, were found guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist act and giving support to a terrorist group
Andayi based his verdict on evidence presented by 146 witnesses including security officers as well as first responders who presented evidence incriminating the three accused in the attack that culminated in a four-day siege.
The evidence also included testimonies from persons working in financial institutions as well as insurance companies who illustrated the activity of the suspects prior to the attack
The prosecution admitted that their case was heavily hinged on the communication data between the suspects and the attackers.
Magistrate Andayi further revealed that the five SIM cards recovered from the vehicle were proven to have been used to frequently communicate with the accused persons.
In one instance, a SIM card recovered at the scene of the attack was found to have communicated with one of the accused 226 times between June 2013 and August 26, 2013.
Liban, who was acquitted of all charges, had been in police custody over the last 7 years, after his calls to his brother (one of the attackers), led the investigators to his doorstep.
At least 67 people were killed in the assault on the upmarket Westgate shopping complex.