BY CAROLINE WAITHERA
A suspect in a piracy case yesterday told a Mombasa court that he was not the man in photographs used as exhibits in his case
Mohamud Abdi, told the court that the photographs were of different people since none of them was clad in his usual military-like uniform.
Abdi and his accomplices Abshir Salat, Abdullah Ahmed, Abdirahman Hussein, Abdikarim Abdullahi, Hassan Isse and Feysal Ali were arrested by American Marines on February 11, 2009 in the Indian Ocean.
Prosecutor Mercy Gateru produced the pictures as evidence that he was in the boat that the American soldiers arrested them in.
Abdi, who was the boat’s captain, told the court that they led their Lasqoure hometown in Somali on February 6 for a fishing expedition when their boat got mechanical problems .
Their lawyer Martin Wanjala told the court that the suspects could not communicate with the Americans during and after the arrest due to language barrier and it was only after they were brought to Mombasa that a translator was found.
Abdi also told the court that his boat drifted towards the MV Polaris ship, which they were accused of trying to attack, by the waves since it had mechanical problems and he could not control it.
Gateru alleged that AK47 rifles, a Tokalev pistol and an RPG-7 portable rocket launcher were recovered on the boat after the arrest.
She said there was no fishing equipment and no fish found in their boat that could prove that they were in fact fishermen.
Salat told the court that the Americans were cruel to them since they blindfolded them, denied them food and kept them in the ship’s cold basement.
He said they were also not allowed to contact their relatives so as to inform them of their arrest.
Senior resident magistrate Timothy Gesora asked the suspects, who have been in custody at Shimo La Tewa since 2009, to bear with the cross examinations since it is the only way the court can get figure out what really happened.
He set hearing of the case fore July 1.