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Venezuelan diplomat in a Nairobi court over ambassador murder

07 April 2014, 20:31

Nairobi - A Venezuelan diplomat reappeared briefly in a Nairobi court on Monday on charges of killing his country's ambassador in July 2012, although the case was adjourned to early June.

Venezuela's former first secretary to Kenya, Dwight Sagaray, is charged alongside several other accused.

Proceedings have been delayed because not all of the co-accused had lawyers, although a High Court judge ruled the trial would get under way from June 3 now that all of the accused had lawyers.

Acting ambassador Olga Fonseca, 57, was strangled to death at her residence on July 26, 2012, less than two weeks after arriving in Kenya to head the diplomatic mission. Local media said her hands and feet had been tied.

The motives for Fonseca's killing remain mysterious, but a former embassy guard testified in December that the mission smuggled drugs through the diplomatic pouch.

Another hypothesis put forward in the media is that the killing resulted from a power struggle between senior diplomats.

Sangaray was accused of having murdered Fonseca, a charge he denies. An arrest warrant has also been issued for Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, a friend of Sangaray's who is alleged to have disappeared after Fonseca's killing.

Sangaray first appeared in court in August 2012 and was remanded in custody. He was subsequently released on bail.

Observers were surprised at the speed with which the Venezuelan government lifted Sagaray's diplomatic immunity so that he could be tried in Kenya.



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