LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — A court in Zambia has discharged eight Croatians who had been charged with child trafficking.
The court dropped the charges against the Croatians — four couples — following applications by their lawyers. They had earlier pleaded not guilty.
The eight include Zoran Subosic, 52, a guitarist in a well-known band Hladno Pivo, or Cold Beer, and Immovic Subosic, 41, an administrator, according to Croatian media. Others include Damir Magic, 44, an electrical technician, Nadic Magic, 45, a technician, Ladislav Persic, 42, a medical doctor, Aleksandra Persic, 43, a hair salon attendant, Noah Kraljevic, 40, a program director and Ivona Kraljevic, 36, a dog handler.
The charges alleged that on December 7, last year, the four couples acted together to traffic the children. The young children were from neighboring Congo and the couples said they adopted the children through a lawyer.
When the case came up before Ndola Chief Resident Magistrate Dominic Makalicha, lawyers representing the Croatian couples appealed to the court to discharge the four Croatian couples. Under Zambian laws, the court can discharge accused persons if there is no objection from the prosecutors or if there is insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction.
“Having heard from the lawyers I have therefore discharged all the eight accused persons and therefore they are free to go,” the magistrate said.
In Croatia, that country’s foreign ministry said the four couples were told to leave Zambia within 48 hours.
No statement has been made about who is taking care of the young children who were to be adopted.