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Kenyan court convicts Venezuelan diplomat of murdering ambassador

A court in Kenya has found a Venezuelan diplomat guilty of murdering the Latin American nation’s acting ambassador about 10 years ago at her home in an upmarket Nairobi neighbourhood.

Dwight Sagaray, who was the first secretary at the embassy, was found guilty of the July 2012 killing of Olga Fonseca, Judge Roselyn Korir said in her ruling on Wednesday.

The court also convicted three Kenyan nationals who had been charged alongside Sagaray, saying they were involved in a common plan to carry out the murder.

Another suspect who fled after the murder is still at large and the court said his arrest warrant should remain in force.

Sagaray, who wore a suit and tie in the dock, clasped his hands and held them against his face when the verdict was read. Sagaray could be tried for the murder because he did not enjoy diplomatic immunity after Venezuela waived it following the crime, the court ruled.

Sentencing of Sagaray has been set for a later date [Dai Kurokawa/EPA]

Fonseca, 57, was found strangled in her bedroom less than two weeks into her posting to Nairobi, which followed the abrupt departure of the previous ambassador after he was accused by his domestic staff of sexual harassment.

Sagaray, who had been heading the mission before the arrival of Fonseca, was angered by her presence since he wanted to continue overseeing the embassy, the court found.

He intended to be the main beneficiary of the crime, Korir said, adding there was evidence he had tried to interfere with Fonseca’s ability to take over as the head of the embassy before she was killed.

“From the evidence, it is clear that the first accused [Sagaray] resisted the taking of over of the embassy by Ms Fonseca,” local daily the Nation reported quoting Korir.

Sagaray and his co-accused will be sentenced at a later date, the judge said.

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