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The 6th Criminal Court of the Sofala Judicial Court has sentenced four defendants to prison sentences ranging from 18 to 24 years for the abduction of a nine-year-old child in the city of Beira in May of last year.
Defendants Djesse Jonas Sitoi, Samuel Sotho Okafor and José de Rego Sarmento were sentenced to 24 years in prison, while Jeremias Muianga will complete 18 years. They were also sentenced to one year’s daily fine of 160 meticais, maximum justice tax and to pay compensation of 2,400,000 meticais to the victim and 250,000 meticais to the driver shot at the time of the abduction.
The judges bench, presided over by Laurindo Mahoche, said that it the defended been been shown to have co-authored the kidnapping using prohibited weapons, corporal offenses resulting in illness, falsification of identification documents and fraud.
The defendants denied involvement in the abduction of the minor, but admitted depositing money in the bank accounts of fictitious companies they created.
Judge Mahoche described their motives as “clumsy, dishonest, disgusting and obscene”, adding that the defendants’ testimony did not convince him and that, as he explained in his sentencing, there was indeed criminal conspiracy.
Mahoche went further, stating that the defendants were moved by the desire for quick and easy enrichment with no regarding for the suffering imposed on their victims.
He explained that the facts, proved by evidence brought forward, unequivocally established direct co-authorship, and that the court understood that if the four defendants had not cooperated in the preparation of the crime, that would not have happened.
Mahoche explained that the defendants knew from the outset that they were dealing with preparations for kidnapping.
“It cannot be understood that people with the lucidity which characterizes all the defendants did not realize that this was about preparing conditions for abduction, as they have tried to insinuate,” he said.
The defendants’ defense does not however rule out the possibility of an appeal on the grounds of the harshness of the sentences.
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