Verdict in Pakistanis Case Reserved

SUPREME Court Judge Gregory Phiri has reserved judgment in a case in which four Pakistanis are challenging the 15-year jail sentences slapped on them for failing to report to immigration officers and consenting to be smuggled into Zambia.

This is in a case in which Mahmood Shahid, Gulzar Jabran, Ullah Ahsani and Elahi Karamall of Pakistan are jointly charged for consenting to be smuggled into Zambia from Tunduma.

In count one ,the four appellants on December 29, 2011 are alleged to have consented to be smuggled into Zambia contrary to section 9 (1) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act number 11 of 2008.

In the second count, the four were charged for failing to appear before the nearest immigration officer upon entry into Zambia contrary to section 12(2) and section (1) as read with section

56(1) of the Immigration and deportation Act number 18 of 2010.

During trial, witnesses testified how the four were apprehended and were found hiding in a container of a truck.

When the driver of the truck was asked what he was carrying, he explained that he was carrying charcoal but after inspecting the container the four were apprehended by police officers and later handed over to immigration officers.

At the closure of the case the four were found with a case to answer and put on their defence but they maintained their innocence and that they had no intention of entering the country illegally adding that an agent they had engaged was responsible for what transpired.

The four on February 27, 2013 were found guilty by the Lusaka High Court and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour but appealed to the Supreme Court against the conviction.

But when the case came up before a team of Supreme Court judges headed by Justice Phiri sitting in Kabwe, lawyer representing the four Musa Yusuf from ADD Aocates submitted that the four were wrongly convicted and sentenced and submitted that they be set free.

He argued that the trial of his clients was unfairly done considering that the proceedings were conducted in English despite them not being in a position to speak or understand and that the use of an interpreter was a serious anomaly, adding that the 15-year jail sentence was too harsh.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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