Zambia court ordered stiff penalties against 50 Ethiopian refugees
(PostZambia) – A Zambian court has fined 50 Ethiopians KR400.00 each or in default serve a one and half year imprisonment with hard labor for failing to report to an immigration officer.
Appearing before magistrate Shadreck Chanda for judgment on Friday were Sisay Asefa and 49 others aged between 11 to 37 who stood charged with one count of failing to report to an Immigration officer at Nakonde Border Post contrary to section 12(1) and 51(1) of the immigration and deportation Act number 18 of the Laws of Zambia.
It was alleged that on March 29 this year, 50 immigrants jointly and whilst acting together, being persons entering Zambia through Nakonde border, failed to report to the Immigration officer as required by law.
The court found the 50 prohibited immigrants guilty upon their own admission of guilty and convicted them accordingly.
Passing judgment, magistrate Chanda said the court took note of what the 50 had said in their mitigation, adding that he would have only deported them to their country of origin but that the offence committed was serious as it borders on national security.
He said the illegal immigrants knew very well that entering any country without legal documentation and failing to report to an Immigration officer is an offence saying he was therefore ordering them to pay a fine of KR400.00 each or in default serve an 18 months imprisonment with hard labour.
Magistrate Chanda said the government of Zambia would not allow or tolerate people entering the country without proper papers and warned the 50 prohibited immigrants that if they repeat the same offence, the court would not be lenient towards them.
In mitigation, the 50 asked the court to exercise maximum lenience on them saying they were wrong to have entered Zambia without first reporting to an Immigration officer at the border post.
They told the court that they have suffered a lot and that they wanted to go back to their country to be reunited with their families.
posted by Tseday Getachew