Kenyan sentenced to death for helping Somali pirates Kidnap British woman could walk free

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Ali Babitu Kololo (left) was sentenced to death after he confessed to helping kidnap British tourist Judith Tebbutt. He is now challenging Scotland Yard over their use of his information

 

A Kenyan man who was sentenced to death after he confessed to helping kidnap a British tourist is challenging Scotland Yard over their use of his personal information.

Judith Tebbutt was taken from her luxury Kenyan lodge in 2011 and held hostage for six months by armed pirates who also killed her husband.

Ali Babitu Kololo was found guilty of robbery with violence in August 2013. He is the only person to be convicted so far.

But due to data laws judges could soon compel Scotland Yard to disclose key documents that could lead to his conviction being overturned.

The decision will be made amid allegations British authorities ‘acted unlawfully’.

Under the Overseas Justice and Security Act the UK, which helped the public prosecution in the case, is required to seek assurance that the death penalty will not be sought.

The 35-year-old also claims he was tortured by local police and forced to confess, which similarly goes against UK laws.

The father-of-two now wants to know what information Scotland Yard held on him, which Kenyan authorities it shared the information with and what it plans on doing with it in the future.

Scotland Yard has so far refused to allow Kololo to see any of the information, which he believes will help him in his appeal.

Human rights charity Reprieve, which is supporting Kololo, said: ‘The Metropolitan Police helped secure the conviction of a man who was tortured in a mandatory death penalty case, in clear violation of UK policy.

‘Mr Kololo has a right to know what information the Met has on him and how they plan to use it.

‘He has already suffered grave injustices thanks in large part to the actions of the Met.

‘Scotland Yard must comply with British law and come clean about the information they hold on Mr Kololo.’

Kololo was arrested hours after the attack on Ms Tebbutt and her husband in September 2011.

Kenyan police believed that he deliberately led five Somali gunmen to the property although he said he was ordered at gunpoint to show the way to the hotel.

But Ms Tebbutt told the court that her captors had told her the sixth gang member had been arrested.

The 60-year-old tourist, from Bishop’s Stortford, was dramatically released after a ransom payment, reportedly around £600,000, ended her six-month ordeal.

She said at the time of her release: ‘I am of course hugely relieved to at last be free, and overjoyed to be reunited with my son Ollie.

‘This however is a time when my joy at being safe again is overwhelmed by my immense grief, shared by Ollie and the wider family, following David’s passing in September last year.’

Reprieve argued that Kololo, who had no lawyer or interpreter, did not receive a fair trial. They also said he was also forced to cross-examine witnesses on his own.

London law firm Leigh Day is representing Kololo.

It said: ‘The Metropolitan Police has refused to provide our client with access to the data it holds about him, which may well contain material that shows his conviction is not safe and that his death sentence should be overturned.’

Metropolitan Police said they do not comment on ongoing cases.

 

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