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Prison warder ‘kills’ prisoner

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Police in Kasungu District have arrested 31-year-old Wellos Kusakala, a prison warder based at Kasungu Prison, on suspicion that he killed one of the prisoners at the reformatory centre.
Kasungu Police deputy spokesperson, Harry Namwaza, has identified the prisoner as Jonas Zinaumaleka.
The incident is said to have occurred in the hours between January 11 and 12 this year.
“It is alleged that the deceased, who was serving his sentence at Kasungu Prison, was taken out together with other prisoners to work in the suspect’s garden. In the course of doing the assigned work, the deceased and three other inmates escaped but, with the help of other inmates, the deceased and other two escapees were apprehended. The fourth one managed to escape.
“It is also alleged that, after the deceased was apprehended, Kusakala got angry and heavily assaulted Zinaumaleka with a hoe handle. The victim sustained head injuries and was later taken into prison cells where he died during the night of January 11-12 2018,” Namwaza said.
He said a postmortem conducted at Kasungu District Hospital revealed that death occurred due to head injuries.
Kusakala is expected to appear in court where he will answer murder charges after the conclusion of investigations into the matter.
Meanwhile, Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) Executive Director, Victor Mhango, has since asked that investigations be instituted into the matter.
“Prison warders are trained on how to handle a case when a prisoner is escaping. Of course we have not yet established the fact of the matter. But the law requires that every death in prison be subject to judicial inquest. So, we believe that, after his death, the Judiciary will make an inquiry into the circumstances that led to his death,” he said.
Mhango also said it is sad to note that the right to health of the prisoner in question was deprived, when he was taken into his cell instead of rushing him to the hospital.
“Prisoners, just like any other Malawian, have a right to health. In fact, you can receive treatment at the prison or access treatment at any other private or public hospital. That is in our Constitution,” he said.
The suspect comes from Ulaya Village, Traditional Authority Makhuwira, in Chikwawa District while the victim was from Kondwerani Village, Traditional Authority Chidzuma, in Kasungu.
Through various human rights reports, human rights defenders have been condemning the country’s prisons for the violations of prisoners’ rights.

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