October 25th, 2021

Accused in human trafficking case released on bail


By Delon Shurtz on August 19, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Six adults and two youth charged last week with human trafficking of underage girls have been released on bail.
Mohammad Zafari, 20, Abdullah Mohammed, 19, Mohammad Nirabani, 22, and Fadi Chtewi, 20, were released Tuesday following a lengthy bail hearing before Judge Jerry LeGrandeur in Lethbridge provincial court. A 16-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified because of their age, were also granted bail. Two other accused, Khaled Alsaid, 22, and Meriton Krasniqi, 26, were released Wednesday without a bail hearing.
One of two remaining accused, Mahmoud Nirabani, is scheduled to be in court today, ostensibly for a bail hearing, and the remaining accused, Dr. Ziyaad Noor, 37, is scheduled for a court appearance next Wednesday. The next court hearing for the other individuals is set for Sept. 10.
The accused who have been released on bail were ordered to reside with sureties, many of whom are family members and are required to report to police should the accused breach any of their bail conditions. The individuals must remain in their surety’s residence 24 hours a day, although there are exceptions for medical emergencies, employment, school, and court-related meetings. The accused are prohibited from having contact with any other accused and the complainants, and they must surrender their passports to police and not leave Alberta.
Police reported they learned several individuals had selected and groomed a 15-year-old girl and took her to specific locations where sex offences took place. The same individuals had also engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl. Police believe more victims will be identified as the investigation continues.
“At this point it is too early to state, but as the investigation continues we are getting more and more information,” acting Insp. Pete Christos, said recently.
The alleged offences took place in Lethbridge and Calgary, Christos said, and the victims are receiving the help they need following their traumatic experiences.
“They are in a safe place right now, and they are being looked after,” he said.
Allthough the accused don’t face all the same charges, many of the charges include trafficking persons under 18, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and sexual interference.

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