Jury hears how defendant fled Kenya before attack
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Mohamed Sadeek Odeh left Kenya the day before the U.S. embassy in that country was bombed, traveling with a fake passport under an assumed name, a jury in the embassy bombings trial heard Monday.
When an immigration official at the Karachi, Pakistan, airport noticed the photograph in Odeh's passport did not look like him, Odeh was arrested, the jury was told, and began his 2.5 years in police custody or jail.
Odeh, 36, a Jordanian national, is one of four men on trial for their alleged roles in the August 7, 1998, bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people -- including 12 Americans -- and injured more than 4,500 others.
The prosecution, after calling more than 80 witnesses during the past eight weeks of testimony, plans to rest its case Wednesday.
On August 6, 1998, Odeh left Nairobi on a Pakistani Airways flight that landed in Karachi about four hours before the truck bomb exploded behind the embassy in Kenya.
Prosecutors Monday showed his plane ticket and his Yemen-issued passport to the jury. Both documents carried the name "Abdullbast Awadah," the same alias Odeh used to register at Nairobi's Hilltop Hotel the previous four nights. It was at this hotel, prosecutors allege, that several Kenya embassy bombers met and stayed in the days before the attack.
In his post-arrest interviews with the FBI, Odeh admitted being in the company of these men but denied a role in the bombing.
Pakistani immigration officer Sohail Anjum testified Monday about re-checking Odeh's passport in the Karachi airport. Anjum told the court that the man in the passport photo had a beard and darker skin than the clean-shaven Odeh.
"I asked him why it didn't match," Anjum said. "He responded by saying this was my imagining.
"I was convinced this passport was not his," Anjum added. "He couldn't even look me straight in the eyes."
Odeh was detained at the airport. Within a week, he was flown back to Kenya for further interrogation. He took with him his one piece of carry-on luggage, a Nike travel bag.
The bag included clothes, a bed sheet, books and magazines, and other items later pored over by an FBI evidence team looking for explosive residue or any evidence that might link Odeh to the crime.
Court adjourned Monday before prosecutors indicated what evidence was found.
Odeh's defense attorneys, Carl Herman and Anthony Ricco, expressed concern during their cross-examinations of two Pakistani officials and two Kenyan police officers, that Odeh's belongings were handled at times without gloves and were stored in a Kenyan police basement room where no other bombing evidence was kept.
Alleged embassy bombing conspirator Fahid Msalam, who is accused of purchasing materials and vehicles used in the Tanzania attack, was on the same Pakistani International Airways flight, according to travel records shown to the jury. Msalam entered Pakistan without detection and remains a fugitive, prosecutors have said.
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