The Supreme Court of Seychelles at the Palais de Justice (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Two Iranians, a captain and an engineer, were sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday by the Seychelles Supreme Court for the importation of a controlled drug in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 2016.
The Iranian captain, Wahid Balochizi, 45 years, and his compatriot, Alhafiz Balochizi, 23, were intercepted onboard a dhow in April in Seychelles’ territorial waters with 622.6 kilogrammes of heroin and 388.6 grammes of methamphetamine.
The operation in the southeast of Mahe was conducted by the Seychelles security services including the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), the Seychelles Police and Intelligence Services as well as other key partners.
The Iranians were charged and pleaded guilty to the charges.
In passing his ruling, Chief Justice Rony Govinden said he had identified two aggravating factors under section 48 of the Act in this case.
Firstly, the presence and degree of a commercial element in the offending, particularly where controlled drugs have been imported into Seychelles, and secondly, the involvement in the offence of an organised criminal group to which the offenders belong.
“On the facts, it is clear to the court that the convicts acted in common intention and in concert, together with the other members of their crew, when they imported the controlled drugs into this country, they hence acted as an organised group,” said Govinden.
He added that the very large amount of controlled drugs also proves the commercial element involved in this crime and the havoc that the drugs would have caused to the society if they had not been intercepted cannot be understated.
Govinden sentenced both Iranians to two counts of 25 years in prison, but both shall run concurrently.
The convicts are not entitled to remission – meaning the cancellation of part of their sentence – in view of the aggravated circumstances of the case.