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Court denies Westgate suspects bail

A court has declined to grant bail to four people facing charges in connection to the  terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall.

Nairobi acting chief magistrate Mr Daniel Ochenja said he feared the suspects may be lynched by the public and that their safety will be more assured in prison.

In his ruling, Mr Ochenja said public interest in the case is high and outweighs other factors.

“Although bail is a constitutional right it is not absolute…if the accused are found guilty they will be sentenced to life imprisonment,” ruled Mr Ochenja.

Defence lawyer Mbugua Muriithi had renewed bail application for the accused saying investigation into the matter had been completed and that 20 witnesses have already testified.

Prosecuting Counsel Mungai Warui opposed the application saying the offences the accused are facing are serious.

Mr Mungai said if the accused are released, they are likely to abscond and that they have no fixed abode.

In December, the then chief magistrate Kiarie Waweru denied the accused bail but said they could renew their application later as the trial progressed.

During the last hearing of the case, a court heard that a human skull, jaw, bones and 10 kilograms of flesh were recovered at the ground floor of the shopping mall during investigations after the attack.

Anti-Terrorist Police Unit investigator Sergeant Ezekiel Luley said the recovered human remains were taken for forensic examination.

Mr Luley told the court that they also said they recovered seven firearms among them a G3 rifle and magazines.

Among the firearms, the court heard, three AK 47 rifles attached to magazines were recovered in the same place at the groundfloor.

Mr Adan Abdikadir, Mohamed Abdi, Liban Abdullah and Hussein Hassan allegedly on September 21 last year jointly with others not before court carried out a terrorist attack at Westgate Shopping mall.

Other charges facing some of the accused include giving support to terrorist group and habouring of persons committing a terrorist acts.

The case will be heard on April 10.