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Trafficker of albinos in Tanzania sentenced to 17 years




 by Joseph Earnest August 19, 2010


Newscast Media -- Local media outlets in Tanzania have reported that a court in the region of Mwanza has convicted Nathan Mutei, a Kenyan, after he pleaded guilty to charges of human trafficking.  Mutei has been sentenced to 17 years in prison in northwest Tanzania for trying to sell an albino man to witchdoctors.

"For the offense of human trafficking, you will go prison for nine years, or pay a fine of 80 million shillings ($53,209)," Angelous Rumisha,  the judge, was quoted by the Mwananchi newspaper on Thursday as saying as he announced the sentence.

"For the second offense, you will go to prison for eight years".  

Mutei, 28, was arrested earlier this week for trying to sell Robinson Mkwana, who is also a Kenyan, for $263,000.        Story continues below 

Mkwana told the Reuters news agency that Mutei brought him from Kenya to the neighbouring country saying he would help him get a job.

"I am warning albinos to not accept people who are pretending they want to help you to secure a job, while they are looking to make some money by selling you," he said.

Albino hunters kill their victims and then take their bodies to witchdoctors, who use the body parts to make potions, which they believe will bring them good luck and prosperity in life.

Most of the killings have reportedly taken place in the remote northwest regions of Mwanza and Shinyanga.

Albinism is a rare congenital disorder in which people lack pigment in their skin, hair and eyes. There are around 170,000 albinos living in Tanzania.
A Tanzanian albino rights group applauded the court's judgment, but called for tougher punishment for offenders.

"We are happy with the quick conclusion of the trial, because these cases have been dragging on for too long," Zihada Ali Msembo, the secretary general of the Tanzania Albino Society, said.

"However, we feel that nine years in jail is such a lenient sentence. This man should have been sentenced to life in prison because he knew very well that this poor albino he was trying to sell would have been butchered."  

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