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The court of the Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, has scheduled for 24 April the ruling on the 189 people charged of involvement in the armed violence affecting the province since October 2017.
The date was set on Wednesday after the closing arguments presented by the public prosecutor and defence lawyer in the trial of 189 defendants.
The Public Prosecutor has asked the court to convict the mentors of the attacks to 40-years in prison, AIM reports.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office understands that co-defendants who have played the coordinating and logistical role should have an extraordinary aggravation of sentences and that a prison term of 40 years is imposed,” said Rodrigo Munguambe of the Public Ministry, quoted by ‘O País ‘.
The defence team, alleged lack of evidence and witnesses and called for the acquittal of the defendants, O País reports.
“The Defence asks the Court’s court that the charges be considered unfounded, unproven and without any legal grounds of the facts articulated, [as in all such cases] the defendant benefiting from the doubt [in dubio pro reu] ,” argued Ussene Daniel, one of the lawyers of the defence group.
“It was agreed that there was no proper investigation in order to prove the evidence of the perpetrators of crime, so the prosecution makes a general charge,” added Falume Anli of the defence block, who requested as an alternative, mitigating there is no hard evidence directly affecting the defendants.
The trial began on 3 October 2018.
In total, 20 court sessions were held, presided by judge Geraldo Patrício, who requested time to analyse the arguments and evidence.
Among the defendants there are Mozambican citizens but also foreign nationals, mostly from Tanzania, a country with areas bordering some of the Mozambican districts that have been the target of attacks by armed groups in the province of Cabo Delgado.
According to official data, at least 140 people, among residents, alleged atackers and members of the security forces, have died since the wave of violence began.
This is the first of the five court cases which are currently underway in connection to the attacks perpetrated by unknown groups.Source: Lusa / AIM / O País
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