Press Release: Major Suspected Ivory Kingpin Released in Kenya (21.08.2015)
Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, August 21st 2015: WildlifeDirect has today expressed its deep disappointment at the release of suspected ivory Kingpin Feisal Mohamed Ali. He and five others are charged with trafficking 2 tons of ivory that was seized in Mombasa on the 5th of June 2014. He had escaped to Tanzania where he remained a fugitive for 7 months before arrest, following a red notice issued by Interpol. The ruling by court magistrate Honourable Davis Karani allows him to leave Shimo la Tewa prison where he has been held since 23rd of December 2014. The terms for his release are that he pays a bond of Kshs. 10 Million (USD 100,000) and a surety of the same amount.
The decision today by the lower magistrates court contradicts a decision on 7th July just a month ago by the High Court of Kenya in Mombasa which emphasized that he (Feisal Mohamed Ali) was a flight risk. Honourable Karani today said he sees no reason why Feisal should remain in custody.
The trial which commenced four days ago (17th August 2015) follows a protracted inquiry into the disappearance of evidence in the case; 9 motor vehicles which are suspected to have been used in the crime that were under police protection. The prosecution revealed that they intend to call witnesses who are under state witness protection program.
This trial is a major test case of the newly created Wildlife Prosecution Unit under the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the only unit of its kind in Eastern and Central Africa that was formed as a result of the rising cases of major transnational wildlife crime.
WildlifeDirect Chairman Philip Murgor expressed his disappointment
‘’This is the most unaccepted and unfortunate decision that a lower court can overturn the decision of the High Court. It undermines all the coordinated efforts of law enforcement agencies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as Interpol to bring the fugitive to face justice in Kenya’’
Mr. Murgor is the former head of Public Prosecutions.
Today the prosecution asked the trial magistrate Honourable Karani to recuse himself from the case but the magistrate declined.
As Kenyans reacted to the shocking news, the ODPP kept concerned citizens updated with tweets:
“we at ODPP are all shocked & disappointed by the outcome @ODPP_KE @paulakahumbu”
“JUST IN ;Magistrate refuse to stay release order &defers ruling on his disqualification until Hct decide on bail !”
And “the team in Mombasa have been in the trenches on a daily basis over this matter & they extremely disappointed
The ODPP through Assistant Director of Prosecutions Mr.Muteti has indicated that he is filing an urgent application at the high court to overturn the bond ruling and apply for the magistrate to be recused from the case.
WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan NGO and US registered 501(c) (3) organization. Hands Off Our Elephants, the flagship campaign of WildlifeDirect and it is patroned by Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, the First lady of Kenya. The organization has been at the forefront of driving legal reforms in Kenya and East Africa. The CEO of WildlifeDirect is Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Elizabeth Gitari is the Legal Affairs Manager.
For more information, Please contact Elizabeth Gitari at firstname.lastname@example.org +254 723 419 706