Somali military court jails 2 foreigners over terror links: local media

Somali prisoners convicted of piracy, stand behind a gate of the prison in Garowe, Puntland state, in northeastern Somalia, on December 14, 2016. The prison facilitates the rehabilitation of convicted Somali pirates and suspected Al-Shabaab jihadists. / AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB (Photo credit should read MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)
Somali prisoners stand behind a gate of the prison in northeastern Somalia’s Puntland state, where two foreigners were sentenced to 15 year jail terms on Thursday, September 23, 2021. (MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

A Somali military court on Thursday sentenced two foreigners each to 15 years in jail after being found guilty of recruiting foreign nationals for the terror group al-Shabab in the country.

Hassan Ali Nur Shute, chairman of the Military Court which sat in Mogadishu ruled that Darren Anthony Byrness, a 44-year-old Briton, and 34 year-old Ahmed Mustaqim Bin Abdulhamid, a Malaysian, will serve 15 years each in prison, Radio Mogadishu reported.

The court established that Byrness, who arrived in Somalia in 2010 worked with several al-Shabab leaders in Somalia to stage terror activities in the country and also planned terror attacks in France.

Shute said the court also found that Abdulhamid who joined the terror group in 2009 was involved in the insurgency in Galgaduud state against Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ), a moderate Islamic group.

The two foreigners who were involved in planning and intelligence gathering for the terror group had denied supporting the terror group in Somalia.

Shute said the two foreigners were arrested by Puntland security forces in 2019 while trying to cross into Yemen and were later transferred to Mogadishu to face terrorism charges.

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