The High Court in Lilongwe has stopped hearing of a case at Chief Resident Magistrate court in which former Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Timothy Mtambo his then deputy Gift Trapence and Macdonald Sembereka, are being accused of soliciting others to shut down state residences in the country.
Mtambo, Trapence and Sembereka were expected to appear before the Chief Resident Magistrate on April 9 and 10 2020 for hearing of the case
One of the lawyers for the trio, Khumbo Soko said Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda granted the stay order pending a judicial review of the decision surrounding the arrest of the three.
“The High Court basically said there should be no movement in that case until after it concludes its judicial review proceedings. We applied to court to review the circumstances of their arrests,” he said
Soko said the accused believe that the police were motivated by unlawful orders from politicians and it did not operate independently.
“What we want is for the court to determine if the conduct of police in listening to the directions of politicians was lawful. Those proceedings are ongoing and the court said while the proceedings are on-going, the criminal procedures cannot commence,” he said.
State lawyer during the judicial review hearing, Neverson Chisiza referred the matter to office of the Director of Public of Public Prosecution (DPP) where its spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala reserved his comment on the matter
The three were arrested for soliciting others to close State residences which the state said is contrary to Section 124 of the Penal Code.
The remarks were made on March 6, while expressing dismay with failure by President Peter Mutharika to assent to electoral reform bills and refusal to fire commissioners of Malawi Electoral Commission.