In a story that reads like a spy novel, Kenya snagged the Iranian ambassador in Nairobi for attempting to bribe officials to smuggle two Iranian terror suspects out of the country.
The suspects, Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammed and Sayed Mansour Mousavi, are believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, an elite unit that carries out secret missions abroad, including terror attacks.
Mohammed and Mousavi are being held by Kenya for their alleged role in procuring RDX, a lethal explosive, and planning a terror attack.
The ambassador, Hadi Farajvand, is accused of trying to bribe two men who introduced themselves to him as senior officials in the Interior Ministry. The men told the ambassador they could secure the release of Mohammed and Mousavi. In the end, the men turned out to be frauds, fleecing Farajvand of an undisclosed amount of money. Both are currently in custody.
The ambassador has not been arrested since he is covered by diplomatic immunity.
So sure was Farajvand that the Iranian operatives would be freed, he booked three tickets from Nairobi’s international airport – one for himself and one each for Mohammed and Mousavi. The plot fell apart when investigators say Farajvand called government officials to inquire about the men who told him they could free the Iranian operatives.
After realizing he was duped, he cancelled the airline tickets.
The saga began in 2012 when Mohammed and Mousavi entered Kenya, claiming to be tourists. They were arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 2013 after they led police officers to the bomb-making material in Mombasa and were convicted of planning a terror attack.
Their sentence was later reduced to 15 years in jail after a successful appeal. Yet another appeal secured their release in January 2018 when a high court ruled there was insufficient evidence linking the two to the bomb-making material.
However, the director of public prosecutions successfully appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging the decision and asking that they be remanded until a final decision was made on their case. He argued that since there is no extradition treaty between Kenya and Iran, releasing the men would mean they would be permanently free from justice in Kenya in any future court case.