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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Mombasa bombing suspects cleared
From left, Mohammed Khamis, Said Saggar Ahmed and Kubwa Mohammed Seif
The three suspects had repeatedly professed their innocence
A Kenyan judge has acquitted three men accused of conspiracy in the case of the 2002 suicide bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule said prosecutors had failed to connect the men to the bombing.

Fifteen people, including three Israeli tourists, died in the attack on the Paradise Hotel.

Charges against four other Kenyan suspects in the bombing were thrown out of court earlier this month.

Disputed evidence

The three suspects - Kubwa Mohammed Seif, Said Saggar Ahmed and Mohammed Khamis - were also accused of plotting a failed rocket attack on an Israeli airliner that took off from Mombasa airport on the same day.

Wreckage of the Paradise Hotel
Many of the dead were local dancers welcoming tourists to the hotel

The attacks were widely blamed on al-Qaeda. No-one has been convicted in connection with the bombing so far, and no-one else is due to stand trial.

When the trial first opened in January last year, the prosecution described the three men as "sworn suicide bombers".

Mr Seif's lawyer, Kirathe Wandugi, told the Associated Press news agency that his client was extremely happy with the magistrate's decision.

"Our clients have been exonerated and the course of justice has been met. It's been a very long trial. These people have suffered," Mr Wandugi said.

Critics have said the men should never have been charged in the first place and that the evidence presented was at best circumstantial.




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See scenes of the damage caused by the bomb blast



SEE ALSO:
Mombasa bombing trial collapses
09 Jun 05 |  Africa


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