Prisoners stand behind bars, at the prison in Garowe, Puntland state, in northeastern Somalia, on December 14, 2016. The prison facilitates the rehabilitation of convicted Somali pirates and suspected Al-Shabaab jihadists. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB

The first criminal session of the Second Class Court of the First Instance of Lokossa examined during the day of this Thursday 7th November 2019 the 3rd case registered in the roll of the first session. At the end of the trial, an alleged defendant is acquitted with the benefit of doubt, two people released and another sentenced to eight years’ criminal imprisonment in a case involving the disappearance of an Albino.

An acquittal with the benefit of the doubt, two persons released and one person sentenced to 8 years’ criminal imprisonment, this is the verdict handed down by the Lokossa Second Class Court of First Instance in the 3rd case entered on the list of the first criminal session.

 Back to the facts: 

The facts relating to the 3rd case entered on the roll of the first criminal session of the Lokossa Second Class Court of First Instance date back to 2013. Mr. Michel G. B., informed his employee Jean-Baptiste César of the opportunity to get an albino to make money. Very excited to get the money quickly, he made the same proposal to Justin D, according to information reported by the Benin Press Agency. On May 18, 2013, he made an appointment with the two emissaries who came with the albino. On this occasion, Justin D. agreed with Michel G. B. for the sale of the albino at 10 million CFA francs. A trip to Banigbé is organized for this purpose.

On Tuesday, June 04, 2013, Mr. Michel G. B- said he will be in Porto-Novo for a ceremony. The albino asked his friend Pascal H. to accompany him to the scene. The latter gave his favourable approval and, in turn, informed his friend Isaac G. who will take care of dropping him off in Dogbo. Arrived in Dogbo. On June 05, 2013, Pascal Hlékpé and Isaac Gbèdè left Banigbé for their respective villages, leaving the albino, Justin D., Michel, Adandé M. and one appointed delegate until June 12, 2013, when Michel disappeared with the albino;

The judgemen tand the court decision:

On the stand, all the defendants denied the facts of the albino’s disappearance. Several of them admitted to having exchanged and travelled with him. The Public Prosecutor’s Office in its requisitions requested that the facts be reclassified and the main defendants dismissed for the benefit of the doubt. The defence of the accused also supported the release of his clients.

The presiding judge, after the requisition of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the defence lawyers’ pleadings, reclassified the acts of kidnapping as acts of trafficking in persons before acquitting the accused Pascal respectively with the benefit of doubt. The accused Isaac G. and Jean-Baptiste César were simply released. However, the court sentenced the accused Justin D. to eight years’ imprisonment because he is guilty of the acts of trafficking in persons, which are provided for and punished by article 354 of Ordinance No. 73-37 of 17 April 1973 amending the provisions of the Criminal Code concerning trafficking in persons and the abduction of minors and article 502 of the new Criminal Code.

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