Kenyan court convicts Venezuelan diplomat for envoy's murder

FILE PHOTO: A Kenyan police officer arrives at the residence of the Venezuelan embassy's slain charge d'affaires, Olga Fonseca, at the Runda neighbourhood in Kenya's capital Nairobi July 27, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan court on Wednesday found a Venezuelan diplomat guilty of murdering the Latin American nation's acting ambassador a decade 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.

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.

Fonseca 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.

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

(This story has been corrected to change the date of the murder to July 2012, instead of May 2012, in the second paragraph.)

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri and Humphrey Malalo in Nairobi; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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