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Croats charged with child trafficking in Zambia granted bail

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A judge in Zambia freed eight Croatian nationals accused of child trafficking on Thursday.

Judge David Makalicha in Ndola, in the mineral-rich Copperbelt district, said the eight would have to post bail of 20,000 kwacha (about $1,000) and surrender their passports to the court.

The eight names are Damir Majic, 44, Nadica Majic, 45, Zoran Subosic, 52, Azra Imamovic Subosic, 41, Ladislav Perisic, 42, Aleksandra Perisic, 40, Noah Kraljevic, 45, and Ivona Kraljevic, 46. They appeared before the court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to child trafficking charges.

Child trafficking

They are being defended by legal aid attorney Kelvin Silwemba. The indictment alleges that the Croats tried to smuggle four identified children into Zambia for “exploitation” late last year.

Croatian media reported that the detained Croatians were four couples, including Zoran Subosic, the guitarist of the well-known band Hiladno Bivo or Cold Bear.

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Among the witnesses on Thursday were the immigration officer and the guest house manager.

Mercy Phiri, an immigration officer at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport, said she received a tip that some Croats were planning to leave the country with black children through the airport.

“I warned the police at the exit booth of the airport terminal to beware of Croats with Congolese children. I later learned that the same people were at the exit booth,” she told the court.

Croats charged with child trafficking in Zambia granted bail

Phiri said the Croats had reports that four of the children were Congolese. She said a closer look at the children’s passports showed that they had entered Zambia through the Sakania border point used by Zambia and the DRC.

The Croats produced alleged adoption documents showing that the couples had not traveled to Congo but were in Zambia. Phiri said they claim a Congolese lawyer helped them adopt the children.

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