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Lawyers to petition IG on police brutality

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By Faith Kamtambe:

THE CSOs WANT ANSWERS FROM HIS OFFICE—Jose

Women Lawyers Association of Malawi has said it wants to deliver a petition to Malawi Police Service Inspector General (IG), Rodney Jose, over a sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl at Chisepo in Dowa District.

Reports say the girl was raped by ‘a police officer’ in a cell at Chisepo Police Unit where she was remanded illegally recently.

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The petition, which The Daily Times has seen, signed by several civil society organisations indicates that the case represents “one of the most heinous failures of the systems put in place to protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence”.

The association’s President, Sarai Chisala, said they want to seek an audience with the IG on the issue.

“We are planning to seek an audience with the IG at his office tomorrow [today]. The main issue is of the 14-year-old girl who was abused while in custody. So we want the office of the IG to speak to us on the steps they are taking to ensure independence and enquiry into the whole process,” she said.

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The petition, among other things, states that action should be taken on the officers and other parties that were involved in processing and enabling the incarceration of the girl for alleged school discipline-related matters.

“We demand an independent inquiry and investigation into the events leading to and following the sexual assault of this young girl. All connected officers should be suspended from duty, pending the outcome of this inquiry,” reads part of the petition.

Reports indicate that the minor was arrested for allegedly using abusive language after being involved in a scuffle at school.

Meanwhile, MPS has released a statement regarding the defilement case, saying suggestions on the incident have been propagated by some parties, including the media.

The statement, released Wednesday and signed by MPS publicist James Kadadzera, says the police are investigating the matter.

“It is sad to learn that a girl child was defiled under our custody either by a suspect or a police officer charged with responsibility to protect her rights.

“This incident is deeply regretted. MPS will investigate the matter with diligence, commitment and fairness so that the perpetrator of this offence is brought to justice,” reads part of the statement.

Malawi Law Society and other stakeholders have volunteered to take up the case.

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