Street beggar sentenced to 6 months IHL for abducting, defiling 10 year old girl

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Thirty-one-year old Abdul Rijana, who earns his living by begging in the streets of Limbe, has been convicted by Midima Magistrates Court of abducting a 10-year old girl who he detained for two weeks.

He has since been slapped with six months imprisonment with hard labour or a K5,000 fine in default.

Deputy Public Relations Officer for Limbe Police Pedzisai Zembeneko yesterday said Rijana, who uses a wheelchair as he is physically challenged, was expected to appear in court again yesterday on another count of defilement.

This, he said, was based on medical report conducted on the girl which showed that she was also defiled.

“On October 17 this year, the girl left her parents’ home in Makhetha in Blantyre after picking a quarrel with her mum for refusing to wash plates.

“The girl was loitering in Limbe until the evening when Rijani coaxed her to go with him to his house in Soche in Blantyre where they stayed as ‘husband and wife’ until November 1, 2012,” Zembeneko said.

He further said her mother’s efforts to locate her were proving futile until she was tipped off by a woman who also begs in Limbe and together went to Rijani’s place.

“The two found the girl at the Rijani’s house preparing ‘Bonya’ while the man was playing bawo,” he said.

But when the matter came before Senior Resident Magistrate Mangawa Makhalira on Tuesday, Zembeneko said Rijani pleaded not guilty to defilement.

But on the abduction count, the police said Rijani told the court that he did that out ignorance that it was an offence.

He further told the court in mitigation that he had a wife and children to look after hence deserved a lighter punishment.

But the court, while factoring in that Rijani is physically challenged, said he needed to be punished to deter would be offenders from committing the same offence.

The Magistrate, therefore, handed down a six month jail term or in default a K5,000 fine. According to police, he had not yet paid the fine as we went to press.

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