The capture of Mozambique’s notorious criminal Nini Satar meets sceptical public reaction

During his first day back behind bars, Nini said that he would get out soon | First page of SAVANA, 3 August 2018 | Photo taken by the author

This case centers on Momade Assife Abdul Satar, better known as Nini, one of those sentenced for the killing in November 2000 of Carlos Cardoso, a Mozambican journalist who exposed a government corruption scandal and founder of the country's first journalist cooperative.

Nini's conditional release was revoked and an international arrest warrant was issued by Maputo City’s Judicial Court which was used to detain him in Thailand, on 25 July 2018.

He got a conditional release in September 2014 after completing half of his 24-year sentence. One of the reasons given by the prison management for recommending his conditional release was that he had shown remorse for his crimes.

But according to a communique released by the Attorney General's Office in 2017, Nini led a criminal organization and kidnapped Mozambicans with the intention of demanding huge amounts of money.

During his time outside the cells, Nini constantly posted on Facebook messages criticizing Mozambique’s justice system, as well as some political figures.

TV analyst Tomás Vieira Mário said that he did not understand the reasons which led to Nini’s release, and he even considered such a decision to be a failure of Mozambique’s justice system:

O que é comportar-se bem? Quer dizer o que precisamente? Quais são os referendos que são usados para alguém com crimes dessa natureza poder sair em liberdade condicional e depois mais tarde autorizar-se lhe que vá para o estrangeiro em termos mais ou menos indefinidos.

What is behaving well? What does that mean exactly? What are the choices taken which are used for somebody with crimes of this nature to be able to get out on conditional release and later be authorized to go abroad on more or less indefinite terms.

Return to prison

After his arrest in Thailand, he was found to be in possession of a false passport under the name Sahime Mohammad Aslam.

South African press reported that Nini is also involved in kidnapping cases, but this has yet to be confirmed by Mozambican authorities who are still waiting for an official statement from the South African government.

Although authorities have not discussed details, it is known that kidnapping is prominent in the charges which should once again bring Nini to the dock.

It should be noted that, in relation to these cases, a public prosecutor and defendants accused of direct or indirect involvement have already been murdered.

In a video uploaded to Youtube, one could see the moment when Nini left Bangkok airport to be extradited to Maputo:

On social media, Nini’s capture and extradition sparked debate, in particular many questioned the reasons behind his release in 2014 and his fugitive status, since Nini repeatedly made public appearances. Jenny Baptista, Facebook user, remarked:

Que notícia mais estúpida! Estava mesmo foragido o Nini Satar que quase diariamente postava de tudo no Facebook e algumas vezes com localização? Ja não sabem o que inventar?

What stupid news! Nini Satar was really a fugitive that posted everything almost daily on Facebook and sometimes with the location? They don’t know what to make up anymore?

Caliste Meque Meque, member of Renamo (main opposition party), even questioned if Nini could be considered a fugitive, as it was the Mozambican courts that approved his release:

Nini Satar saiu em liberdade condicional no dia 5 de Setembro de 2014, depois de cumprir metade da pena de 24 anos, em conexão com o assassinato do jornalista Carlos .Senhora procuradora, alguém em liberdade condicional é um fugitivo?

Nini Satar came out on conditional release on 5 September 2014, after completing half of the 24 year sentence, in relation to the murder of the journalist Carlos. Ms Prosecutor, is somebody on conditional release a fugitive?

Some, such as Eduardo Domingos, student at Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), used Nini’s capture to remind Mozambique’s political leaders to arrest other bigger and dangerous criminals working in the government.

O criminoso mais perigoso de Moçambique é aquele que endividou o país e a justiça tem medo de lhe prender. Criminoso mais perigoso de Moçambique é aquele que sem escrupulo diz que se tiver oportunidade faria dívidas ocultas outra vez para si e sua família.

Quem atormenta a justiça dum Estado e todas suas instituições esse sim é criminoso mais perigoso de Moçambique. O criminoso mais perigoso de Moçambique é aquele que mata nos hospitais centenas e centenas de pessoas por falta de medicamentos. Criminoso mais perigoso de Moçambique é aquele que condenou a desnutriçao cronica a 45% das nossas criancas.

Mozambique’s most dangerous criminal is one who puts the country in debt and is not ordered arrested by the courts. Mozambique’s most dangerous criminal is who, with no scruples, says that if he has the opportunity he would take hidden debts again for his family.

He who torments the justice system of the state and all its institutions is Mozambique’s most dangerous criminal. Mozambique’s most dangerous criminal is one who kills hundreds and hundreds of people in hospitals due to lack of medicines. Mozambique’s most dangerous criminal is one who condemns 45 percent of our children to chronic malnutrition.

Meanwhile, one Twitter user cited Nini's arrest in Thailand as a failure of the police in Mozambique and South Africa to capture the wanted man:

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