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Two Nigerians sentenced to death, fines for drug trafficking TANGERANG - The Tangerang District Court on Thursday sentenced to death two Nigerian nationals and fined them Rp 500 million (US$58,823) for violating Article 82 of Law No. 22/1997 on illegal narcotics and Article 55 of the Criminal Code on organized crime. Presiding judge Permadi said that defendants Michael Titus Igweh, 23, and Hillary K. Chimezia, 27, were found guilty of running an organized drug trafficking ring.
The court found no mitigating factors that would necessitate a lenient sentence. The judge found the defendants to be dishonest in their testimony and said they had caused problems in the community, were involved in organized crime amid the government's effort to curb rampant drug abuse and adversely impacted the lives of millions of Indonesian youths.
The judges also deemed that the defendants had tried to cover up their transgressions during the trial by saying that several other people were running the drug ring. "We are sure that maximum sentence will deter drug offenders. We really hope that (by this punishment) the number of drug traffickers can be reduced," Permadi said. The packed courtroom applauded the verdicts. Neither defendant showed emotion while the final was read.
Defense lawyers Henri P. Sihaan and Peter Targian said that they would appeal to the Tangerang High Court while prosecutors Rachmat Vidianto and Puji Raharjo expressed their satisfaction with the verdicts. The two defendants were arrested on Aug. 18, 2002, one at a house in Vila Melati Mas Regency and the other at the Kelapa Gading Tower Apartments, both in Serpong, Tangerang. The arrests were made based on information from Marlena, 24, an Indonesian woman who had been detained a day earlier with 50 grams of heroin in her possession.
The case also involved Marlena's boyfriend Kholisani Nkomo, alias Icuhku Eberu Okolwaja, a Zimbabwean. The arrests were made following a tipoff from residents who had suspected drug transactions at Marlena's house in Vila Melati Mas Regency. The trial of the two Nigerian suspects began after Marlena died on Dec. 17, 2002, at the Soekanto Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta, from lung disease. Kholisani Nkomo died at the same hospital in March 2003 of an AIDS-related illness.
Nkomo, Igweh and Chimezia were first tried in three separate trials in January this year. But judge Permadi ruled on Feb. 6 that all charges must be dropped due to inaccuracies in the three defendants' dossiers. The police arrested the suspects again soon after their release and refiled charges against them. The second trial for Igweh and Chimezia started on June 20 with the same prosecutors and judges.
So far, the Tangerang District Court has sentenced to death 21 drug traffickers -- five Indonesians, four Nigerians, five Nepalese, two Thai women, an Angolan, a Pakistani, a Zimbabwean, a Malawian and a Dutch citizen -- since January 2000. They are all still on death row.



Posted in Drugs @ 24 October 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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