COU­PLE FACE 4 MORE CHARGES

They al­legedly ex­ploited 3 chil­dren and a man for work pur­poses

New Straits Times - - News - HIDIR REDUAN KUAN­TAN hidirre­d­uan@nst.com.my

TWO wel­fare home com­mit­tee mem­bers ap­peared un­per­turbed out­side the Ses­sions Court yes­ter­day af­ter they were charged with four counts of hu­man traf­fick­ing.

As the mar­ried cou­ple left the court un­der po­lice es­cort, Mus­lim Ab Karim, 56, flashed a grin, while Zaleha Mo­hamad, 54, gave a weak smile as they were bathed in the white flashes of cam­eras by me­dia pho­tog­ra­phers.

On May 8 at the Ipoh Ses­sions Court, Mus­lim and Zaleha pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of traf­fick­ing chil­dren, aged be­tween 11 and 13, in or­der to ex­ploit them to col­lect dona­tions and sell medicine, among others, in Oc­to­ber last year.

Yes­ter­day, Mus­lim and Zaleha were calm when they claimed trial to traf­fick­ing three un­der­age vic­tims and a 20-year-old man on Nov 9 last year.

They were al­leged to have traf­ficked the chil­dren, then aged be­tween 15 and 17, and Ah­mad Fud­hail Hus­saini for work pur­poses.

Two of the chil­dren and Fud­hail were pur­port­edly traf­ficked at a petrol sta­tion at Tan­jung Lumpur here, while the third child was al­legedly traf­ficked at a ko­pi­tiam at Lorong Tun Ismail 1 here.

Both Mus­lim, who is chair­man of Pusat Lati­han Amal Bes­tari, and Zaleha, the trea­surer of the cen­tre, op­er­ated sev­eral tah­fiz cen­tres in the coun­try.

They face a max­i­mum prison of 20 years and fine if found guilty un­der the Anti-Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons and Anti-Smug­gling of Mi­grants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007.

Deputy pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor Jaizah Jaa­far Sidek urged the court to deny bail as there was a risk of both ac­cused tam­per­ing with wit­nesses.

“This case in­volves the ex­ploita­tion of un­der­age chil­dren,” she said, adding that the risk was high due to Mus­lim and Zaleha’s po­si­tions in Pusat Lati­han Amal Bes­tari.

“There is con­cern that they (Mus­lim and Zaleha) may try to in­flu­ence the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims,” said Jaizah, who re­minded the court that even the Ipoh Ses­sions Court did not grant bail to the cou­ple.

She added that Mus­lim and Zaleha would face more charges at Raub to­day and Kota Baru, Ke­lan­tan on Sun­day.

Judge Siti Ami­nah Ghaz­ali de­nied bail and fixed June 19 for men­tion.

The cou­ple were not rep­re­sented.

PIC BY MUHAM­MAD ASYRAF SAWAL

Mus­lim Ab Karim and his wife Zaleha Mo­hamad be­ing es­corted to the Ses­sions Court in Kuan­tan yes­ter­day.

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