Dehai News

(NZZ) An Eritrean man who allegedly helped kidnap six compatriots in Sudan faces a long prison sentence

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Tuesday, 21 April 2020

District court Bülach

April 21, 2020 6:02 PM; Act: 21.04.2020 18:02

«I don't know the woman, I've never seen her»

by S. Hohler - 

An Eritrean man who allegedly helped kidnap six compatriots in Sudan faces a long prison sentence. On Tuesday, he stood before the Bülach district court.

It was a dramatic scene on October 11, 2017 in front of the Zurich Migration Office in Oerlikon when a young woman recognized her alleged tormentor. He is said to have attacked her in Sudan while fleeing to Europe, mistreated her and extorted ransom from her relatives.

The woman was completely distraught, cried and hit the then 22-year-old man. She was certain that it was the man who acted as an interpreter in April 2015 when she and five other women in Sudan were attacked by an armed gang of Arab nomads. The women from Eritrea had fled to a refugee camp in Ethiopia and wanted to go to Europe via Sudan. After the relatives of the victims paid a ransom of $ 3,000 each, the women were released after several weeks of imprisonment. According to the indictment, the women were beaten, mistreated, raped and threatened with death by the kidnappers.

The accused denies the allegations

At the court hearing on Tuesday at the Bülach district court - the trial took place in the Zurich High Court due to the corona - the asylum seeker denied the allegation: "I don't know the woman, I've never seen her." At the time, he was also on the run and had been waiting in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to come to Libya with a gang of traffickers and to reach Europe from there. His two uncles had paid the $ 4,000 required for this.

His defense lawyer asked for an acquittal, and his client should also be released from the custody that he has been in since August. The man has been married for three years and his wife lives in Germany. He most recently lived as a rejected asylum seeker in an emergency shelter near Zurich. It cannot be ruled out that the alleged victim will burden his client so that they have better cards as a personal hardship case at the migration office. The defense attorney also pointed out that the woman only told the migration office about the hostage-taking in 2017, two years after entering Switzerland, in connection with the extension of the residence permit.

Judgment is pending

The prosecutor has ordered a prison sentence of 14 years for a qualified hostage-taking. The accused had been charged by a second woman, the second victim lives as an asylum seeker in Germany. The women were questioned and questioned for hours: "The statements of the women agree, both said they saw him in Sudan." The victim's lawyer said that years after the crime, the woman was still suffering from insomnia, depression, and needed psychological care.

The district court did not pass judgment on Tuesday. The date of the judgment opening is still open.
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