Djibouti asked to quash terrorism conviction against businessman

Law2The Government of Djibouti has been heavily criticised by the High Court in London for failing to quash the unsafe terrorism conviction against Djiboutian businessman Abdourahman Boreh.

Mr Justice Julian Flaux, who is currently hearing a case against Mr Boreh and three of his companies, gave a deadline of December 2 for action to be taken by the government of Djibouti, whose Public Prosecutor promised in March this year that he would go back to the country’s Supreme Court to quash the conviction.

Mr. Boreh was found guilty of terrorism in absentia in Djibouti in 2009, but he had always argued that the charges were trumped up and this was upheld by the High Court, which found that it was misled by Djibouti’s legal representatives who apologised for this in open court.

A former confidant of President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Mr. Boreh has always maintained that the charges were politically motivated.

The current case in the High Court is the second round of a personal fight between President Guelleh and Mr Boreh, who has denied the government’s claims that he acquired shares of projects at the port of Djibouti through bribery and corruption.

After weeks of hearing, expert witnesses finished giving evidence this week and it was then that the issue of the terrorism conviction came up.

Richard Waller, one of the lawyers representing Mr Boreh, said were his client to win the case “all leverage would go”.

He said that the government of Djibouti had set November 16 for quashing the conviction but this did not happen, and they had now received a letter saying that the decision was going to be taken on January 18.

Mr Waller added: “…we have real concerns about this date being pushed back and pushed back. “

Mr Justice Flaux, addressing the Djibouti legal team, said: “Being blunt about it, your client [the Government of Djibouti] is ultimately controlled by one man [President Guelleh], and that one man could actually have this conviction for terrorism overturned tomorrow if he wished to.

“I don’t have any doubt about that. And the fact that that has not happened and that we are still having prevarication on the topic is unimpressive, to say the least.”

Mr Justice Flaux made it clear that he was not in any way criticising members of the government of Djibouti’s legal team, noting: “That they don’t shoot the messenger is the point…”

The trial continues on December 2, when the Djibouti legal team will begin its closing statement.

Source: GNA

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