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120 murder cases earmarked for court

Masauko Chamkakala

Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (Pasi) says 120 people who are facing the charge of homicide and are being remanded at Maula Prison in Lilongwe are set to appear before four judges at a camp court in a week.

This comes at a time a Malawi Prison Inspectorate Report of 2020-21 indicates that most prisons in Malawi are congested.

For instance, at Maula Prison, the cell that was meant to hold about 200 remandees is currently accommodating 1,155 remandees.

Out of this number, 304 remandees are answering murder cases.

Pasi Central Region Paralegal Officer Alfred Seza Munika said it was sad to note that some of the murder suspects been on remand for up to six years without trial.

“What is happening is against the criminal justice law. According to the law, one is supposed to be on remand for three months maximum, after which they have to appear before court. But that is contrary to what is happening on the ground.”Munika said.

Legal Aid Bureau Director Masauko Chamkakala said they are ready to represent the suspects.

“This is what we have been advocating for. Every suspect has a right to be granted bail and to be heard in the court of law. This was long overdue and, as an institution, we are grateful,” Chamkakala said.

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