Human trafficking case kicks off
The Intermediate Court of Nyarugenge, yesterday, commenced the hearing of a case involving two suspected human traffickers.
Valentin Rukimbira and Walter Bwanakweli, are accused of trafficking girls to Asian countries for commercial sex, in a case billed by observers as sensitive with the presiding judge and defence lawyer preferring to remain out of public domain.
The prosecutor is also to remain anonymous throughout the trial and all of them will be revealed on the final day of the verdict, according to the spokesperson of the judiciary, Charles Kaliwabo.
The duo, residents of Nyamirambo, a city suburb, was arrested in mid-April, when the family of one of the girls, out of suspicion, reported the matter to police.
However, during yesterday’s session, the suspects requested for more time to prepare for the trial, arguing that they received their case file very late, and they did not have enough time to read it thoroughly.
“I received my file very late and didn’t have enough time to read and understand what is entailed in it,” Rukimbira told court.
“We don’t know the charges we are here to answer; we don’t know people who are pinning us or the witnesses in our case. We request court to grant us ample time to understand all these…to be ready enough to defend ourselves,” a smiling Bwanakweli told court.
The defendants’ lawyer, who gave his name only as Munyentwari, also told court that it’s the right of the accused to seek more time “to be ready to defend themselves.”
The suspects’ request was also seconded by prosecution, saying they have a right to read and understand their charge sheet.
The presiding magistrate adjourned the case to July 2.
About three girls have so far come up to testify against the suspects, saying they had been recruited by the duo on promises of well-paying jobs in China.
Investigations show that the suspects have agents in China who foot travel expenses of their ‘recruits’.
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