By SAM ALFAN
An Iranian was today ordered to pay Sh500,000 fine or spend one year in jail after he pleaded guilty of being in possession of a forged Israeli passport. Ashkan Douzande Madhi alias Dani was jailed on his admission of guilt by Acting Chief Magistrate Daniel Ochenja after he was arrested on Monday at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as he planned to leave the country for Israel.
Immigration officer Justin Maranga informed court that Madhi was denied departure from JKIA to Tel Aviv after immigration officials suspected that he was traveling on a counterfeit Israeli passport.
According to the immigration officer the accused person presented the fake passport to immigration officers who became suspicious about its features and upon interrogation he was unable to explain how he managed to have the fake passport instead he produced an Iranian passport which was later confirmed to be genuine by Iranian embassy.
But Maranga, warned the court that Kenya had become a safe haven for perpetrators of transnational crimes including terrorism and drug trafficking.
“Though the accused is a first-time offender the offence of concealing identity has become rampant of late. It still remains unclear as to why the accused was hiding his identity,” Maranga said.
Maranga told the court that it was the duty of all agencies to be sensitive to the security of the country and desist from being used by criminals to advance their activities. He asked the court to take into consideration the numerous attacks the country has been subjected to in the past.
Through an interpreter the accused said he was remorseful and asked the court not to hand him harsh sentence being a first-time offender.
While passing the judgment, Ochenja said the court took into consideration the country’s national security and the spate of violence that has rocked the country. He directed the accused to be repatriated back to Iran upon payment of the fine or completion of his jail term.