LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — Eight Croatians facing charges of child trafficking have been granted bail of about $1,000 each by a court in Ndola in central Zambia.
The charges allege that on December 7 last year the four couples acted together with a Zambian immigration official to try to traffic four children from the neighboring country of Congo, who are aged between one and three years old.
The immigration official is also facing trafficking charges and had already been released on bail.
The Croatians and the Zambian have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The eight Croatians — four married couples — are eligible for bail and pose no flight risk as Zambian officials hold their passports, Magistrate Jennifer Bwalya said in the court Tuesday.
The child trafficking case is scheduled to begin on March 1, said the magistrate.
The eight Croatians were first arrested and charged with child trafficking in January. The charges against them were dropped on Feb. 6 and they were ordered to leave Zambia within 48 hours. But when they were about to board a plane to leave the country, they were rearrested on fresh charges. They were were held in custody since they were rearrested on Feb. 7.
The Croatians facing charges include Zoran Subosic, 52, a guitarist in a well-known band Hladno Pivo, or Cold Beer, Immovic Subosic, 41, an administrator, Damir Magic, 44, an electrical technician, Nadic Magic, 45, a technician, Ladislav Persic, 42, a medical doctor, Aleksandra Persic, 43, a hair salon attendant, Noah Kraljevic, 40, a program director, and Uvona Kraljevic, 36, a dog handler. Zambian immigration official Gloria Sakulenga, 36, is also facing the charges.