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Magistrate in Zambia grants bail to eight Croatian nationals charged with baby trafficking

A Justice of the Peace in Zambia on Thursday granted bail to eight Croatian nationals charged with baby trafficking.

Magistrate David Makalicha in Ndola, within the mineral-rich Copperbelt province, stated the eight ought to every pay about $1,000 bail and give up their passports to the court docket.

The eight have been named as Damir Magic, 44, Nadica Magic, 45, Zoran Subosic, 52, Azra Imamovic Subosic, 41, Ladislav Persic, 42, Aleksandra Persic, 40, Noah Kraljevic, 45, and Ivona Kraljevic, 46, after they first appeared in court docket on Tuesday and pleaded not responsible to fees of kid trafficking.

They are defended by a authorized assist lawyer, Kelvin Silwimba. In the fees introduced earlier than the court docket, the Croatians are accused of trying to visitors 4 named kids late final yr into Zambia “for the aim of exploitation.”

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Media in Croatia had reported that the detained Croats have been 4 {couples} and that they included Zoran Subosic, a guitarist for well-known band Hladno Pivo, or Cold Beer.

On Thursday, witnesses included an immigration officer and a visitor home supervisor.

Mercy Phiri, an immigration officer at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport, stated she was tipped off that some Croatians have been planning to depart the nation via the airport with Black kids.

Seven of the eight Croatian nationals charged with attempting to traffic children exit a vehicle outside the magistrate's court in Ndola, Zambia, on Jan. 10, 2023. The Croatian nationals have pleaded not guilty to the charge of child trafficking.

Seven of the eight Croatian nationals charged with trying to visitors kids exit a automobile exterior the Justice of the Peace’s court docket in Ndola, Zambia, on Jan. 10, 2023. The Croatian nationals have pleaded not responsible to the cost of kid trafficking.
(AP Photo/Salim Dawood)

“I alerted the officers who have been on the exit sales space of the airport terminal to concentrate on Croatians who had Congolese kids. Later, I used to be knowledgeable that the identical individuals have been on the exit sales space,” she instructed the court docket.

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Phiri stated the Croatians have been reported to have 4 kids recognized as Congolese nationals. She stated a better have a look at the youngsters’s passports indicated that they’d entered Zambia via the Sakania border publish utilized by Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Croatians produced purported adoption paperwork exhibiting that the {couples} had not traveled to Congo however have been as a substitute staying in Zambia. They claimed {that a} lawyer from Congo helped them undertake the youngsters, stated Phiri.

Esthele Banda, a supervisor at a visitor home the place the Croatians stayed for 5 days, instructed the court docket that she grew to become suspicious after seeing them with young children two days after checking in.

“We seen they’d Black kids when one of many housekeepers discovered a child aged one yr or so crying,” stated Banda.

Banda stated there was a communication barrier between visitor home employees, the youngsters and the Croatians as a consequence of language variations.

“But after we seen the newborn crying, we helped the couple on find out how to maintain the newborn,” she stated, including that she accompanied them to the airport after they have been about to fly again to their nation.

Banda stated a person who booked rooms for the Croatians instructed her that the {couples} have been in Zambia to undertake kids from his basis.

The trial continues on Jan. 23.

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