Maputo — A judge in the central Mozambican city of Beira, on Thursday, sentenced the owner of a local Koranic shool to 15 days imprisonment for violating the rules imposed under the country's state of emergency.
According to a report in Friday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", a further two staff at the school were sentenced to seven days' imprisonment.
On Wednesday the police had surprised a group of girls gathered at the school, which called itself the Islamic Studies and Training Centre. The girls were there to take part in school tests.
But, under the state of emergency, all schools are closed, and there are no exceptions for religious schools. A Beira police spokesperson, Dercio Chacate, said that classes have been given at the school for the past week. The school, he added, was not observing the rules on hygiene or on social distancing.
None of those sentenced will have to spend any time in jail, since the judge converted the prison sentences to fines at the rate of 300 meticais (4.3 US dollars) a day. The owner of the school (whose name was not given in the report) must thus pay a fine of 4,500 meticais.
Over the past week, the Beira police have also arrested 11 drivers of minibuses and five fare collectors for violating the emergency rules.
The minibuses (known as "chapas") provide much of the passenger transport in the city, but are often dangerously overcrowded. During the state of emergency, the authorities limit the chapas to carrying no more than three passengers per row of seats.
The drivers arrested had allowed more people onto the minibuses, and the police obliged 67 passengers to disembark. Some if the drivers and fare collectors were not wearing masks, although these are now obligatory in passenger transport.