MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Somali court on Friday sentenced two men to death and a man to a 20-year prison term in connection with a 2013 attack by a militant group on a shopping mall in Kenya.
Attorneys said the three men accused of aiding the attack at Nairobi’s Westgate mall that left 67 people dead were acquitted on some charges and convicted of aiding the Al Shabab extremist group.
The charge of aiding Al Shabab carries a maximum penalty of death.
Fusal Ali Jowhar, who was found guilty of aiding Al Shabab in Westgate, was sent to death row, while Abdirahman Mohamed Ali who aided Al Shabab was jailed. The third defendant, Abdikadir Farah, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Death is an option under Somali law that can be applied to all types of criminal offenses.
The mall attack by Al Shabab was seen as Kenya’s worst terror attack since the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Al Shabab claimed responsibility.
The five defendants were charged with recruiting Kenyans and directing them to the mall attack.
During the three-week trial, prosecution witnesses said some of the defendants spoke of moving Al Shabab fighters from Al Ittihad Al Islami, a Somali group banned in Kenya, to Al Shabab.
Attorneys for Jowhar and Ali said they expected his sentence to be set for appeal.
The court also sentenced 18 Al Shabab members, including the alleged mastermind of the attack, to life in prison.
Although Kenya is one of Somalia’s most important allies in the fight against al-Shabab, the Kenyan government has insisted that it shares no responsibility for the attack on Westgate.