The Supreme Court on Friday quashed the Court of Appeals decision to acquit two Iranians sentenced to life for terrorism. 

Ahmad Mohammed and Sayeed Mousavi had been convicted on three terrorism-related charges.

They were found in possession of 15 kg of cyclotrimethylene trinitramine (RDX) in Nairobi in June 2012.

RDX is one of the most lethal explosives used in warfare.

The apex court said if four of the explosives detonated, they would have caused untold harm to innocent people.

Read: Iranian terror suspects jailed for life

Mohammed and Mousavi were set free by a three-judge bench of Roselyn Nambuye, Daniel Musinga and Steven Gatembu, on February 16, 2018, after a successful second appeal on the basis of insufficient evidence.

The Iranians said they are innocent. They said they had come to Kenya as tourists and to look into possible commercial ventures. 

They have been in the custody of the Supreme Court pending the determination of an appeal to overturn their acquittal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed an application by the state for certification to reverse its decision at the Supreme Court.

On Friday, however, the Supreme Court set aside the acquittal pending the determination of the appeal.


It said the intended appeal raises matters of public importance.

“Consequently, we order that pending the filing, hearing and final determination of the applicant’s intended appeal, the respondents’ acquittal by the Court of Appeal is, hereby, stayed and the respondents shall be held in police custody.”

The judges said the appeal will be rendered useless if the foreigners are allowed to leave the jurisdiction of the court.

“We direct that the applicant shall file and serve its appeal within 30 days. Once filed the appeal shall be given priority.”

The order was issued by Chief Justice David Maraga, Justice Mohammed Ibrahim, Jackton Ojwang; Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndung’u.

The judges said their decision was based on five key issues.

They said the acquittal of the foreigners will set a bad precedent and affect future investigations of all criminal cases of that nature.

They also stated that the appeal involves a matter of public importance as it touches on national security and that the appeal has a high chance of success.

The judges also contended that the appeal has a significant bearing on the public interest with respect to criminal matters which the Court of Appeal failed to consider.

In 2014, there was an attempt by Iranian operatives to free the suspects.

In July this year, security agencies were put on high alert following intelligence reports that a second attempt to free the Iranians was alive.

Read: Anti-terror agencies on high alert over plot to free Iranian convicts