Court ‘relieves’ remandees at Lilongwe Police Station
Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Wanangwa Nyirenda on Friday moved authorities at Lilongwe Police station to ensure that 15 suspects detained at the Station are taken to court within 48 hours as guided by the Constitution.
The development followed a cell visit exercise that Nyirenda conducted with National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust, aimed at decongesting the police cells.
During the screening exercise, it was observed that 15 out of the 74 suspects were yet to be taken to court, having their statements of offence recorded while others were minors.
“We have made some resolutions with the authorities. The aim is to decongest the cells and oversee issues of health and hygiene in the cells. We are just trying to create a conducive environment for the suspects,” he said.
Among the 15, three were minors, five had their 48-hour rule expired by Friday while two were yet to appear before the court since they were arrested in August this year.
“We work hand in hand with police, the idea is to have these exercises regularly, in so doing, the cells are decongested in that way there are also no minors being held,” he said.
Lilongwe Police General Duties officer Innocent Kasonga said the exercise regulates their operations and ensures that they operate within the law.
“When we are sorting out remandees in the morning, sometimes we may forget some people who have overstayed, so it reminds us of the need to assist such suspects with urgency,” he said.
The cell visit was conducted with support from Nice under European Union’s Chilungamo Programme.
Nice Trust Lilongwe District Civic Education Officer Hajira Ali said the exercise helps vulnerable people who have committed several offences to be given a chance to get justice.
“Lilongwe Police station is doing fairly well. There are several breaches because it serves a larger population. We have intervened with other stakeholders so that we should try to minimize the number of remandees at the station,” she said.
Chilungamo programme, among others, ensures that there is an effective environment that promotes and consolidates the rule of law, equal access to justice and respect to human rights.