Muslim group wants US embassy to release publicly video of fatal GSU shooting

A Muslim group wants the US embassy in Nairobi

A Muslim group wants the US embassy in Nairobi to release footage of the fatal shooting of Abdimahat Ibrahim Hassan by a General Service Unit officer last week. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By STELLA CHERONO
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A group of Kenyan Muslims want the US embassy to release CCTV footage that may have captured the shooting of a man who allegedly stabbed a Kenyan law enforcement officer outside the embassy in Nairobi last week.

The Kenya Muslim Caucus says it is concerned about the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting of the man by a General Service Unit (GSU) officer guarding the embassy.

“We have compelling reasons to question the claim that Abdimahat Ibrahim Hassan was shot dead after he stabbed the GSU officer and sought to snatch his weapon so as to attack the embassy,” the Islamic body stated.

Issa Ahmed Issa, the chairman of the group, said that although the man was quickly labeled a member of Al-Shabaab or the Islamic State (ISIS), there was more than what met the eye.

“Consideration of available information, including statements from family members and photographs from the scene, strongly suggest that [Mr. Hassan] may have in fact been a victim of a trigger-happy GSU officer,” he said.

He said the incident must have been captured by CCTV cameras in the highly guarded vicinity, and that by making it public, family members, Kenyan’s and other interested parties will be able to establish the truth of the matter.

He said that without viewing the CCTV footage it would be difficult not to conclude that there is a possible cover-up in the killing of Mr. Hassan.

“We also call on Kenyan and US authorities to expedite independent investigations into the matter and release findings as soon as possible,” he said.

The shooting happened on Thursday last week and the National Police Service claimed the man had stabbed the officer who stopped him as he tried to force his way into the embassy. The police also claimed that he had tried to snatch the gun from the officer.

Detectives from US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Nairobi and officers from elite police squads in the capital arrived at the scene immediately after the shooting and started their investigations into the shooting.

EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING

Kenyans familiar with the deceased have lamented on social media that Mr. Hassan was just a victim of extrajudicial execution and that he had only gone to the embassy to renew his visa.

“If he indeed stabbed the officer on the head and on his right arm, then why was the kitchen knife that was next to his body not blood-stained?” activist Abdimajid Mohamed posed.

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi is among people who have urged police and other agencies to speed up investigations into the killing.

He said investigations would establish whether indeed Mr. Hassan, who he said should have been disarmed and arrested but not shot, was a member of ISIS.

The Muslim group also urged police to probe reports that three girls being held at a Mombasa police station were facing physical and psychological abuse at the hands of the police.

The three have been accused of not providing information to police that would have prevented a shooting incident at the police station earlier this year.

Mr. Issa said one of the girls has asthma and that her inhaler had been confiscated, putting her life in danger. He said the matter had been reported to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority for appropriate action.

“We condemn all acts of terrorism in the country carried out by terrorist groups. But we also call on the government to avoid extrajudicial measures in responding to terrorism as that undermines efforts to combat the menace,” he said.

U.S. Embassy in New Delhi Warns of Possible Islamic State Attacks in India

Embassy warns against visiting places frequented by Westerners

A street in Old Delhi beside Jama Masjid, one of the largest and most-famous mosques in India. ENLARGE
A street in Old Delhi beside Jama Masjid, one of the largest and most-famous mosques in India.PHOTO: KARAN DEEP SINGH/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The U.S. embassy in New Delhi has warned American citizens of possible Islamic State related terrorist attacks in India.

“Recent Indian media reports indicate ISIL’s desire to attack targets in India,” said the embassy in a travel advisory posted on its website Tuesday. It said there was an increased threat in places such as religious sites, markets and festival venues that are frequented by Westerners in India.

In a video posted online in May, Islamic State fighters said they were preparing to avenge what they called atrocities against Muslims in India, citing religious riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in charge of the state government, as well as a long-simmering conflict over the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the 22-minute video, men holding guns urged Indians to join Islamic State and mocked those who live alongside Hindus. Hindus make up around 80% of India’s population, while Muslims, who number 170 million, account for roughly 14%.

“India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly,” the U.S. State Department had said in September in its world-wide caution about “anti-western terrorist groups” operating in India.

In September 2014, Mr. Modi called on countries around the world to unite and defeat Islamic State. But he didn’t announce any direct Indian participation in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

More than 1,000 Indian Muslim scholars and religious leaders last year jointly condemned Islamic State in an effort to counter the militant group’s drive to recruit young men and women.

Dr. Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management said that embassy’s direction to issue the warning was “poorly informed.”

“There is no concrete evidence of augmentation of Islamic State’s capacities and capabilities in India,” he said.

A spokesman for the embassy declined to comment on the travel advisory but said that it had issued such warnings in the past for American tourists about safety of women and pollution, among other things.

Iran court issues verdict for suspects in Saudi embassy attack

BEIRUT – Iran’s judiciary has issued verdicts for 20 people accused of storming Saudi diplomatic missions in January and will announce them in the near future, an official was quoted as saying by the judiciary news agency on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Iran after protesters stormed the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad in response to Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Saudi Shia cleric.

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The Iranian government condemned the assault and President Hassan Rouhani, keen to improve Tehran’s long-strained relations with its neighbors and the West, asked the judiciary to punish the protesters and prevent further attacks.

The Mizan news agency quoted a judge as saying that the verdicts for 20 defendants had been issued and “will be announced soon.
” He did not give the names of the 20 and did not say whether they had been convicted or not.

Iran’s judiciary announced in April that more than 100 suspects had been arrested over the attack on the Saudi missions and 48 charged.
All were released on bail.

Assaults on foreign embassies have occurred throughout the Islamic Republic’s 37-year history, often harming its diplomatic relations.
Protesters attacked the US Embassy in 1979, the Kuwaiti mission in 1987, Saudi Arabia in 1988, Denmark in 2006 and Britain in 2011.
None of the assailants were convicted.

Spanish judge to probe alleged security lapses at bombed Afghan embassy

A Spanish High Court judge agreed on Wednesday to investigate allegations that Spain’s ambassador to Afghanistan ignored security concerns before the Taliban attacked the country’s embassy in Kabul last year, killing two Spanish policemen.

The widow of one of the dead policemen and seven Spanish police officers injured in the attack had accused the ambassador in Kabul, Emilio Perez de Agreda, and his former deputy, Oriol Sola Pardel, of involuntary manslaughter over the alleged security failings.

High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz said in a court ruling on Wednesday that he had decided to investigate the allegations.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it and the two accused diplomats were ready to cooperate with the court to clarify the facts.

In December 2015, Taliban fighters attacked a guest house attached to the Spanish embassy in Kabul, killing the two Spanish security officers and four Afghan police as well as injuring the seven Spanish police officers.

The widow and the injured officers say the Spanish Foreign Ministry and Perez de Agreda had known about the embassy’s security failings soon after it was built in 2008 but the ambassador never acted on recommendations to remedy them

Their complaint alleges that the French secret service warned on the morning of the bombing of the risk of an attack against the embassy and that this should have led to extraordinary security measures being taken.

(Reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel and Adrian Croft; Editing by Angus Berwick and Alison Williams)

Afghan municipality workers sweep a road after an attack on a guest house attached to the Spanish embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghan municipality workers sweep a road after an attack on a guest house attached to the Spanish embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan December 12, 2015. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

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Spain ambassador to Afghanistan probed over embassy attack

Spain’s National Court said Wednesday it was investigating the country’s ambassador to Afghanistan and his former deputy for alleged security flaws after an attack on the Kabul embassy last year that left six dead.

Four Afghan policemen and two of their Spanish counterparts were killed in December last year when Taliban insurgents burst into the embassy after a car bomb blew off the gate of the compound, sparking a shoot-out inside.

Relatives of one of the Spanish policemen who died and seven others who were injured filed a complaint accusing Ambassador Emilio Perez de Agreda and his then deputy Oriol Sola of involuntary manslaughter.

Afghan Crisis Response Unit personnel stand guard at the site of a bomb attack on the Spanish embassy compound in Kabul on December 11, 2015

Afghan Crisis Response Unit personnel stand guard at the site of a bomb attack on the Spanish embassy compound in Kabul on December 11, 2015 ©Wakil Kohsar (AFP/File)

According to court papers published Wednesday, the plaintiffs allege the ambassador failed to act on warnings of security flaws at the embassy.

Since it was built in 2008, there had been warnings about flimsy sentry boxes, or doors that were only made out of wood, which were later reinforced, according to the papers.

The building is outside the secure “green zone” in the Afghan capital, where many other Western embassies are located.

The ambassador, though, had his home in the “green zone” as his predecessor had “refused to live in the embassy due to the potential danger,” the writ said.

When the attack happened, Perez de Agreda was on holiday in Spain, and Sola was in charge.

He “didn’t respect any security measure either,” the plaintiffs alleged, according to the papers.

“On the contrary, he constantly put the building at risk, letting traders into the embassy, allowing cars, vans and trucks in with jewels, carpets and other items without giving security teams enough advance warning to check people and products”, it added.

On December 11, 2015 — the day of the attack — French intelligence services warned of the risk of an attack against the Spanish embassy, but no special security measures were taken, the writ further alleges.

According to judge Santiago Pedraz, the allegations could be a “penal offence,” and will be investigated.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry said Perez de Agreda is still ambassador in Afghanistan, but Sola has since left due to “normal staff rotation.”

He said both the ministry and ambassador were “fully available to collaborate with judicial authorities in clarifying the facts.”

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