The family of the late Justin Phiri, who died in police custody, is demanding K150 million from the government in compensation for the death of their child.
A postmortem examination report by a private pathologist, George Liomba, which The Daily Times has seen, says Phiri’s death last month was due to assault and untreated wounds, among others.
“The deceased was assaulted with multiple objects, mostly by blunt instruments causing bruises, abrasions and hematomas. One of these injuries at the elbow became infected due to lack of early medical interventions… The linear lesions on the upper back and loss of skin of the buttocks would be consistent with being pulled across rough surface,” reads the report in part.
The report indicates that the infection was due to failure by authorities to provide appropriate and timely treatment despite requests by relatives of the deceased.
“It is my considered opinion that the deceased died in the police vehicle on the way to the hospital in the late afternoon of 24 September. He was seen alive but being lifted into the vehicle by fellow prisoners because he could not board the vehicle on his own. Medical and nursing staff at Mzuzu Central Hospital certified him as BID [brought in dead] at 5pm the same day,” reads the autopsy.
Phiri was one of 18 people who were arrested for allegedly causing violence during Anti-Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah protests in Karonga District.
Lawyer for the family, Bracious Kondowe, said on Friday that the law provides that anybody who has suffered loss is entitled to compensation.
“We will be suing the government if they do not compensate the family in a period of three months. If the Attorney General does not act to the satisfaction of the family within the stated period, then we will take them to court,” he said.
However, Ministry of Justice spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala said the ministry is not aware of any legal notice on the matter.
Malawi Human Rights Commission Executive Secretary, David Nungu, said there is likelihood that the Commission would handle the matter as part of a comprehensive case of events that happened in Karonga District.
Police have since said they are yet to finalise an inquest into the matter.