Saturday, March 19, 2016

Four British planespotters arrested at Kenyan airport on terror charges

The four men in court, they appeared before Makadara chief magistrate Heston Nyaga.


Four British plane spotters have been locked up in Kenya as suspected terrorists after filming aircraft taking off from an airport.

They were arrested by Kenyan police in the capital Nairobi while filming planes from an airport bar during a two-week plane-spotting trip in Africa.

The friends - Eddie Swift and Paul Abbott, both 47, Steve Gibson, 60, and Ian Glover, 46 - have been behind bars since their arrest on Monday, according to The Sun.

Photography at Kenyan airports was banned following a deadly attack from jihadists at a Nairobi shopping centre in 2013 which left 67 dead.

The quartet, who posted pictures from their trip on Facebook, claimed they had permission from an airport official but police have accused them of ‘secretly filming’ while seated at a bar.

Under Kenyan law, convicted terrorists face up to 30 years in prison.

Mr Swift’s brother Peter described the bachelor, from Stockport, as an ‘anorak’ and slammed British Embassy officials as ‘hopeless’ for failing to end the group’s ordeal.

He told The Sun: ‘Eddie and his mates are just chaps who like taking pictures of planes. It’s a very worrying time.

‘I’ve spoken to Eddie. He tried to put a brave face on it but I could tell he was anxious.’

Following their arrest on Monday, the four friends were paraded in court and remanded in custody charged with trespassing and using a mobile phone app to monitor flights.

They were then interrogated by anti-terror specialists for two days and have been held at Kenyatta Police Station.

Mr Swift added: ‘The Foreign Office told me he was likely to be charged with terror-related offences. I’ve since been told those charges will be dropped.

‘It’s blindingly obvious they weren’t doing anyone any harm and weren’t plotting anything. None of them would harm a fly.’

The group, who have previously pursued their hobby in America, Russia, China and across Europe, were arrested at Wilson Airport, which is not Nairobi’s main hub.

They had already visited Kenya’s largest airport Jomo Kenyatta International, in Nairobi, so took a taxi to Wilson Airport which arose suspicion from police.

A spokesman for their legal team told The Sun: ‘The British Embassy could have resolved this very quickly by providing background information which would have made it clear the authorities were not dealing with criminals or terrorists.’

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: ‘We are in contact with Kenyan authorities following the arrest of four British nationals and are ready to provide consular assistance.’ 

Original article can be found here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Eddie Swift, 47, has been arrested in Kenya, here the aviation enthusiast is on a previous trip.

Paul Abbott, 47, one of the four men arrested in Kenya on terror offenses after taking photographs on planes taking off from Wilson Airport. Here Paul is on an earlier trip.

Paul Abbott posted this photograph on social media the day before he was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya.

Light aircraft near terminal buildings based at Wilson Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.



Four British planespotters have been arrested at an airport in Kenya on suspicion of terror offenses after taking photographs of planes taking off and landing. The men were arrested in the capital Nairobi last Monday and have been languishing at a police station since then, according to local media reports.

Steve Gibson, 60, Ian Glover, 46, Eddie Swift and Paul Abbott, both 47, were all on a two-week plane spotting trip to Africa, and were posting pictures of aircraft to Facebook. Kenyan newspaper The Star reported that the four appeared in court on 14 March. They did not enter a plea.

The prosecution is understood to have been given two days to investigate them for terror-related charges, including trespassing, secretly filming air traffic while at the airport bar and using an app to monitor incoming flight times.

Swift's brother Peter told The Sun that the men had done nothing wrong, and that he hopes they will be let off with a fine.

"It's blindingly obvious they weren't doing anyone any harm and weren't plotting anything," he said. "None of them would harm a fly."

He added: "The Foreign Office told me he was likely to be charged with terror-related offences. I've since been told those charges will be dropped."

The group have previously spotted planes in America, Russia, China and all over Europe. Photography at airports in Kenya was banned after Islamic extremists massacred 67 people at a shopping centre in Nairobi in 2013.

A spokesman for the spotters' legal team hit out at the British Embassy in Kenya in a comment given to The Sun.

"The British Embassy could have resolved this very quickly by providing background information which would have made it clear the authorities were not dealing with criminals or terrorists," he said.

The Foreign Office said: "We are in contact with Kenyan authorities and are ready to provide consular assistance."

Original article can be found here:   http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

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