John O. Castro, a Nigerian citizen who is on trial at the District Court in Bratislava I for allegedly smuggling five capsules of cocaine in his body cavities to Slovakia, said he had a language problem during his hearing, the SITA newswire reported.
Castro was detained after his arrival at Bratislava Airport on New Year's Eve last year and the police investigators found that the capsules in his body contained nearly 290 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of €62,835.
The judge was supposed to read the indictment at a public hearing but it was interrupted because the accused requested interpretation to the Ikeduru Igbo language. However, the official language of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is English, in which Castro was questioned and signed the minutes in January.
On August 9 at the court hearing he stated that he does not understand English well because he had not attended school and denied that he agreed to be questioned in English in January. “I was told to sign it. I did not know what I was signing,” Castro said in English about the January statement. Then he claimed that Ikeduru Igbo is the official language of Nigeria and that he wants everything to be translated to this language.
The court now has to determine whether there is an Ikeduru Igbo language interpreter living in Slovakia by next week. If not, the hearing will be in English, the judge stated. However, Castro disagreed. The public hearing will continue on the morning of August 16.
Castro is accused of illicit narcotics production and smuggling. He remains in custody for now. He is the fourth Nigerian to be prosecuted for drug smuggling to Slovakia since last year.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
10. Aug 2010 at 14:00