Mozambique: Iranian terror trial delayed – no translator

The trial of 12 Iranians accused by the Mozambican judicial authorities of terrorism, initially scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed because of a lack of translators, a source from the Judicial Court of Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique, told reporters on Friday.

The 12 Iranian citizens speak Persian and can only be tried in the presence of a translator because the hearings are conducted in Portuguese.

At the end of last year, the Mozambican Public Ministry accused the 12 Iranians of supporting rebel groups in Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country and held them in preventive detention.

The group was arrested in December 2019 on a boat loaded with weapons in the bay of Pemba, the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado province.

According to information cited today by Radio Mozambique, the Public Ministry accuses them of terrorism, association to commit crimes, carrying prohibited weapons and crime of organisation against the state, public order, and tranquillity.

The defendants are also charged with drug trafficking because they were found in possession of a ton of heroin.

According to the argument of the case, the 12 Iranians belong to a terrorist organisation and were going to supply weapons and ammunition to the insurgents who have been tormenting the region.

The group was carrying AK47 machine guns, shotguns, pistols and ammunition, binoculars, a motorbike and a credit card on the boat.

The armed violence in the northern province of Mozambique, which is home to Africa’s largest private multinational investment in natural gas exploration, has caused 670,000 displaced persons. The United Nations announced in its latest update of data compiled by humanitarian agencies.

Some of the incursions have been claimed by the ‘jihadist’ group Islamic State since 2019.