Two men who have been sentenced to 25 years in prison in Malawi for participating in the process that led to the murder of a 17-year-old with albinism for his body parts face death penalty as they have now been committed to the High Court to answer murder charges.
The two, 26-year-old Vuto Bizwick and 20-year-old Manuel Robert, were arrested last week after they confessed to have abducted the boy, Fletcher Machinjiri, whom they took to Mozambique where he was murdered and his bones removed for rituals.
Dedza deputy police spokesperson Cassim Manda said the two convicts have been committed to High Court which has the jurisdiction to hear murder cases and face a maximum sentence of death penalty.
However, Malawi has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment and carried out its last execution, by hanging, before 1994.
On Thursday President Peter Mutharika met person with albinism , promising firm action to stop the murders.
Dedza First grade magistrate Eneta Jiya Banda only sentenced the two on three charges, six years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) on the first count of conspiracy to commit a felony contrary to Section 404 of the Penal Code and 12 years IHL on the second count of abducting with intent to murder contrary to Section 261 of the Penal Code, to run concurrently.
On the third count of trafficking a person contrary to Section 15 sub section (1) of Trafficking Act No 3 of 2015, Magistrate Jiya Banda sentenced the two convicts to 13 years imprisonment with hard labour after getting the nod from High Court judge Ivy Kamanga as the offence of trafficking in person attracts a maximum sentence of 21 years, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the First Grade Magistrate’s Court.
The magistrate showed the court gruesome pictures of how Davis Fletcher Machinjiri was butchered by Vuto Biswick and Emmanuel Robert, who then took his body parts to Mozambique to sell.
Witchdoctors say potions made from the body parts of albinos – who lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair – can bring good luck and wealth. They are prepared to pay K50 million for a complete set of albino body parts.
But governments and human rights campaigners are battling to change such wrong perception.
One of the people who attended the court told Nyasa Times: “These evil people should rot in jail, they are a disgrace. We don’t want them back into this community.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :