Hope for 189 refugees

CRIM­I­NAL CASE: ME­DI­A­TION PROCESS MAY LEAD TO DROP­PING OF CHARGES

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Elna Schütz

The group is ac­cused of tres­pass­ing, with a pos­si­ble charge of pub­lic vi­o­lence be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

The crim­i­nal case against 189 refugees who were ar­rested for tres­pass­ing on the premises of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees (UN­HCR) in Pre­to­ria could be dropped if a me­di­a­tion process an­nounced on Wed­nes­day is suc­cess­ful.

Sev­enty-eight of the refugees ap­peared in the Pre­to­ria Prison Court at Kgosi Mam­puru cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity, where the state pros­e­cu­tors an­nounced that they plan to take the matter to a me­di­a­tion process.

Mag­is­trate Ly­dia Pain­ter said “hope­fully me­di­a­tion will be suc­cess­ful and re­solve this is­sue”.

“Should they not find an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion then that matter is then taken to court for a trial,” said the re­gional spokesper­son for the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity in Gaut­eng, Phindi Mjonond­wane.

Aline Bukuru, one of the lead­ers of the wider refugee group, who was present in court on Wed­nes­day, was pos­i­tive about this devel­op­ment. “We be­lieve in, and we are hop­ing for, a pos­i­tive an­swer,” she said.

She added refugees’ main re­quest is still to be re­set­tled as a group in a new coun­try, be­cause they feel un­wel­come and un­safe in South Africa fol­low­ing xeno­pho­bic vi­o­lence.

The group is ac­cused of tres­pass­ing, with a pos­si­ble charge

We be­lieve in, and we are hop­ing for, a pos­i­tive an­swer

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