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Cops hooked in suspect assault

A 22-year-old taxi driver in Zomba, Jimmy Mtiwa, is in pain after he was allegedly beaten up
to unconsciousness by law enforcers from Zomba Police Station.

Mtiwa was reportedly arrested along the Chinamwali-Matawale Road on July 2 this year after he was found carrying passengers in a vehicle not registered for such purposes.

He alleges that on the way to the police station, the officer who was escorting him physically assaulted him in the interrogation process.

“I felt so much pain and nearly lost control of the vehicle. I tried to plead with him to stop assaulting me
but he continued,” Mtiwa said in an interview.

He further claimed he decided to drive to the taxi rank where he handed over the keys to the police officer as he feared the law enforcer could harm him.

The driver and the vehicle’s owner later went to the police station, where the police officer had taken the vehicle to, and paid K10,000 of the K20,000 that they had
been fined.

“My boss left me there at the station and I tried to negotiate with the officers there. Instead, they accused me of being rude and locked me up,” Mtiwa said.

He further claimed that three police officers—two in civilian clothes and one in police uniform—severely assaulted him on the head, right arm and right knee until he fainted and came to at Zomba Central Hospital in front of a nurse who told him some police officers who claimed he had fainted in a cell had brought him to the hospital.

Apparently, the cops had informed hospital officials that Mtiwa had developed epilepsy and collapsed in the
cell without anyone touching him.

But his sister Maureen and his mother vehemently rejected the claim.

“My brother has never suffered from epilepsy. The police are not saying the truth. Some officers
even attempted to steal the medical report but we discovered the plot and got
the report,” Maureen said.

According to the medical report which we have seen, Mtiwa was admitted for four
days when he was being treated for mild head injuries secondary to assault, trauma
and testicular pain.

Apparently, upon his discharge, he was taken back into custody despite that he was still unwell such that, according to his sister, he collapsed again before he was rushed to the hospital where he spent two more

“We lodged a complaint with the police but it appears they are not willing to assist us. They keep pushing us from one officer to another. They told us the officer, who my brother could easily identify, is not reporting for
work because he contracted Covid,” Maureen said.

Zomba Police Station Officer-in-Charge, Esther Wandale, said she was aware of the issue and that the station is conducting investigations into what happened.

“We are conducting discussions with the family and I am wondering that the issue is now in the media,”
Wandale said.

Meanwhile, Malawi Human Rights Commission’s Civil and Political Rights Director, Peter Chisi, has
described the incident as unfortunate, saying the commission will conduct its own investigations to find out what really happened.

Chisi: We will ensure justice prevails

“In the first place, the matter was supposed to be reported to the Professional Standards Unit within the police service. We will ensure justice prevails,” Chisi said.

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