Maputo — The Maputo Higher Court of Appeal (TSR) on Monday sentenced Edith d’Compta Camara Cylindo to 22 years imprisonment for her role inside assassination, on 11 April 2016, of the prominent prosecutor, Marcelino Vilanculos.
The TSR thus overturned a decision of the Maputo Provincial Court which in January 2018 acquitted Cylindo for alleged lack of evidence. The prosecution appealed against the verdict, in addition to This specific is usually one of the rare cases where the Appeals Court has found in favour of the prosecution.
Cylindo had confessed to the crime, nevertheless the judge inside original trial accepted her claim in which the confession was coerced, in addition to so pronounced her not guilty.
However, the prosecution argued, in addition to the TSR accepted, in which Cylindo’s confession was based on the damning evidence of phone calls between her, in addition to those who had ordered the crime. They had targeted Vilanculos because he was investigating the wave of kidnappings in which struck Mozambican cities by late 2011 onwards.
The original trial found in which a three man death squad was recruited to murder Vilanculos. the item was led by Jose Ali Coutinho, who recruited the two others, Amad Antonio Mabunda, who fired the fatal shots, in addition to Abdul Tembe, who drove the auto. The three met each some other when they were all serving terms inside Maputo top security prison.
All three were arrested – nevertheless by the time of the trial only Mabunda was still in custody. Tembe escaped by Maputo Central Prison during a thunderstorm on the night of 24 October 2016. The director of the prison, Castigo Machaieie, in addition to eight prison guards were detained on suspicion of facilitating Tembe’s escape. Tembe has not been seen since the escape.
On 24 April 2017 Coutinho was sprung by custody. Coutinho in addition to a second prisoner, Alfredo Muchanga (not believed to be associated with the Vilankulos murder) were taken by their cells inside Maputo City Police Command, in addition to driven towards a Maputo police station, where they were to be interrogated in connection with alleged attempts to sabotage the security system in their cells. Before they could reach their destination, the vehicle, belonging to the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), was ambushed by a group of four armed men, all wearing hoods.
The assailants fired more than 20 shots, mostly at the tyres of the police vehicle, immobilizing the item. The two policemen inside car, a Land Cruiser, fled for their lives, allowing the gangsters to rescue Coutinho in addition to Muchanga. nevertheless the item soon turned out in which This specific was not an escape at all: three days later, the bodies of Coutinho in addition to Muchanga were found in a shallow grave in Moamba district, about 60 kilometres north of Maputo. Coutinho had not been released – he had been silenced.
Cylindo was accused of providing the death squad with information on the movements of Vilanculos. The prosecution said she had been contacted by Coutinho to help the death squad identify the victim. So not only did she follow the prosecutor’s car, nevertheless she also photographed Vilanculos, in addition to gave the photos to Coutinho. According to the prosecution, after the murder Coutinho paid Cylindo 500,000 meticais (about 8,400 US dollars).
Notably absent by the January 2018 trial in addition to by the appeal was whoever gave Coutinho his orders. The prosecutors believed in which Coutinho was closely linked with the country’s most notorious killer, Momad Assife Abdul Satar (better known as “Nini”), in addition to in which both were connected to the wave of kidnappings.
In January 2003, the Maputo City Court found in which Satar was one of the three business figures who had ordered the murder, in November 2000, of the country’s foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso. Satar was sentenced to 24 years in addition to six months imprisonment, nevertheless was released on parole in 2014 after serving just half his sentence, on the ground in which he had shown “Great behaviour” while inside Maputo top security prison.
Police in addition to prosecutors, however, were convinced in which, far by being a design inmate, Satar had been active, by his prison cell, in planning some other crimes, including the kidnappings of business people. Satar never had any problem in acquiring cell phones, even though such devices are not allowed inside prisons.
Satar was charged in a 2013 kidnap case – nevertheless the presiding judge scrubbed his name by the list of suspects. in which same Maputo judge, Aderito Malhope, later in 2014, authorised Satar’s request to travel abroad, supposedly for medical treatment, though the item was not stated what condition he suffered by which required treatment outside of Mozambique.
The Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) continued to investigate Satar’s connections with the kidnappings in addition to his name is usually on the charge sheet in two cases opened in early 2017. The PGR only went public with This specific information after Coutinho was sprung by police custody in addition to then murdered.
The PGR issued a statement in April 2017 stating “the item was found in which the accused, Momad Assife Abdul Satar, formed a criminal organization with the purpose of kidnapping Mozambican citizens, in order in which later large amounts of money in ransom could be demanded”.
To This specific end, said the PGR, he formed “a criminal alliance” with Coutinho, in addition to with Edith da Camara Cylindo.
In light of these findings, the PGR issued an international arrest warrant, in addition to the Maputo City Court revoked Satar’s parole status.
With the help of Interpol, Satar was tracked down to Thailand, where he was arrested in 2018 in addition to deportd to Mozambique. today he is usually back inside Maputo top security prison, serving the rest of his sentence for the murder of Carlos Cardoso.