Kenya: Pakistan Concerned Over Delay in Sh1.3 Billion Heroin Case Against Its Citizens

Pakistan's government has raised concern over the delay in the prosecution of its six citizens implicated in the Sh1.3 billion heroin intercepted in the Indian Ocean six years ago.

Nation.Africa has learned that the Pakistani government wants the case concluded for her citizens to know their fate instead of being kept in suspense at the Shimo La Tewa Prison.

Mombasa Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti revealed that the country's envoy has raised the issue of the delay of the case, with the Kenyan Judiciary and categorically stating that it wants the case concluded.

"Their ambassador is concerned. They want the case concluded regardless of the outcome," said Ms Nyaloti.

Also, the magistrate reminded the suspects' lawyers and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that the National Assembly is also concerned about the delay.

"Parliament is complaining that we are not working. Even my bosses are concerned that I have a 2014 case. This is one of the cases that makes me look like I do not work," said Ms Nyaloti.

The magistrate made these remarks as she blocked another attempt to further delay the case.

In the fresh attempt, Iranian national Pak Abdolghaffer wanted a new interpreter, claiming he has not been understanding the proceedings.

He claimed that the court interpreter, Amin Junega, is not well versed with Farsi language.

"The court's language is Kiswahili and English, which I don't understand. I only understand Farsi and Persian, the language spoken in the Islamic Republic of Iran," he argued through his advocate.

According to him, he does not understand Hindi, Urdhu, and Arabic, which have been used in the interpretation, an issue he said he has raised on numerous occasions.

The defence also wanted the vessel, Amin Darya, also known as Al-Noor, which carried the drugs, be produced for afresh inspection by the court.

"We pray that some of the suspects be allowed to point out the cargo deck, water and diesel tank, and other critical features of the vessel to the court," they said through their advocates

They also asked for permission to enter the vessel and to inspect, test, photograph and sample its content.

Also, they claimed that the vessel was destroyed in contravention of the law since the same happened in their absence and also their advocates and judicial officers.

But Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alexander Muteti opposed this request, noting that the trial was conducted in a language that the Iranian and his co-accused understand.

Mr Muteti termed the fresh applications by the defence an abuse of the court process and purely vexatious.

"The accused had the opportunity of having Urdhu interpreter being examined by the court, and they confirmed that indeed they could communicate in the language for those who are not Kenyans," he said.

Mr Muteti also stated that the vessel had been produced at the port by the prosecution to the court in the presence of all the accused persons and their advocates.

"Each defence counsel was given an opportunity to cross-examine on any aspect that touched on the vessel and the drug haul. This application is merely meant to delay the trial and occasion a mistrial thereby necessitating the recalling of all the prosecution witnesses," said the prosecutor.

The magistrate was of the view that the case has dragged in court and further delays should not be tolerated, adding that litigation will never end if accused persons are allowed to have criminal proceedings in a language of their choice.

"Every accused person will make a choice of their favorite language including rare languages that finding an interpreter will pose a challenge to the criminal justice system," she said

The magistrate said court records indicate that the Iranian had access to interpretation services throughout the process, from the date of arrest to arraignment.

"I am satisfied that Mr Abdolghaffer is fluent in Urdhu language and understands it as stated by the interpreter on oath. This application lacks merit, is mischievous, and intended to delay the trial," she said.

The magistrate said the ship and its contents had been destroyed hence the advocates should not request for inspection of the same unless they want the court to dive under the Indian Ocean to view its debris and take photographs.

The suspects are Muar Bwanamaka and Yousuf Yaqoob, Yakoob Ibrahim, Saleem Muhammad,Bhatti Abdul Ghafour,Baksh Moula, Pak Abdolghaffer, Muhammed Saleh, Mohamed Osman Ahmed and Khalid Agil.

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