SIXTY Ethiopian nationals who recently entered the country illegally as they fled political uncertainty in their homeland were last Friday fined $40 each or face a four-day jail term for contravening Zimbabwe’s immigration laws.
Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe heard that the East Africans sneaked into the country through Nyamapanda Border Post on October 21 this year.
“In assessing sentence, I took into consideration that the accused are first offenders who have pleaded guilty. The accused would be handed to the immigration department for deportation,” Mahwe said.
The Ethiopians said in mitigation they were penniless as they were in the country as refugees after running away from their troubled nation.
Some of them wept as they were led out of the courtroom following the verdict.
Prosecutor Francesca Mukumbiri told the court that after crossing into the country illegally, the Ethiopians were offered transport by unknown people and dropped off at Kondo Village in Seke communal areas where they were later picked up by police and brought to court.