Malawi court releases 8 prisoners on death row: ‘Kanfantayeni justice’

The High Court of Malawi has released from jail eight prisoners on death row after judges commenced rehearing their cases in February this year, according to local press report.

Malunda: Court files for the majority of the prisoners have been lost

Malunda: Court files for the majority of the prisoners have been lost

Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula is quoted in the local daily that the eight were freed after the High Court reheard their homicide cases between February 11 and March 23 2015.

:“I can confirm that the eight convicts were immediately set free after resentencing, right now they have been reunited with their communities.”

In 2007 the High Court of Malawi abolished the mandatory death penalty. In what become known as the Kafanteyeni ruling the mandatory death penalty was deemed by the bench as unconstitutional as it amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of life, denies an accused the right to a fair trial and the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment.

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is running a ‘Kafantayeni Project’  which aims at giving a second chance to 170 prisoners on mandatory death sentence to be reheard.

Resentencing hearings give prisoners the opportunity to present mitigating evidence before the court so that a judge may be persuaded  to hand down a sentence other than death.

The project is also being implemented by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Legal Aid Bureau and Paralegal Advisory Service International  (PASI).

Lawyer in Ministry fo Justice,  Dziko Ndianthu Malunda said the State “will have to reconstruct files to ensure that no one  is denied justice simply because of the missing file.”

There are 192 homicide cases pending resentencing out of which 22 have already been reheard. All the cases are being reheard at High Court Zomba District Registry

The Tilitonse funded project is also being implemented by Center for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance, Chancellor College Faculty of Law, Cornell Law School and Malawi Prison Service.

MHRC Executive Secretary Grace Malera said the cases will be heard on mitigation and aggravating factors.

The abolition of the mandatory death penalty in Kafantayeni and the fact that Malawi has not actually carried out an execution since 1992 puts the country in good stead to abolish the death penalty. Countries like Malawi that have made the transition to democracy increasingly see abolition of the death penalty as a necessary step to signal their commitment to human rights.

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23 thoughts on “Malawi court releases 8 prisoners on death row: ‘Kanfantayeni justice’”

  1. George Lihoma says:

    The gateway for wealthy murderers. Pa death row patsala okhaokha osauka. Hahahahahaha.

  2. M'doko says:

    You are just creating mob justice

  3. Mike siliya says:

    Mob justice must provail!! Ufulu shud see no boundary, wophedwayo ndiye mukuganiza kuti analibe ufulu wokhala ndi moyo? An eye for an aye! Tit for tat fear game, fokolo!!!

  4. ajijooo says:

    Ndipo nsawaone alipinyapinya ndiwazimitsa we nid shalia law here zachamba eti

  5. Scot banda says:

    Mukulephera kugamula mlandu wa Alikaka chinemba wakupha akungoyenda town stupid!

  6. Kotokoto says:

    Chokani apa, wakumpha aphedwe, mbuzi inu.

  7. Kadakwiza says:

    What about the victim’s rights?

  8. makarios makarios says:

    Njoka Mu Udzu

  9. Masaninga says:

    Kd kma akambilana ndi ananfedwa? Tikuziwa kuti lamulo ndichilungamo ndizindu ziwili zosiyana kma tiyeni tilemekeze olilao

  10. maxwell Nsani says:

    A Law is passed by parliament and abolished by the high court? Where is the separation of powers here? What the court should have done is to declare it incompartible with the the supreme law of the land basi osati abolishing.
    And who said when you remove the death penalty you set the killers free? I thought the sentences would be commuted to life in prison? Or has the high court abolished that one as well. Poti chilichonse chonena mzungutu timatengeka nacho! Chonsecho in the USA, they are sentencing people to death and killing them by lethal injection or gassing. Why cant these people go and fight for the rights there? what was the point of the constitutional review which overwhelmingly was of the view that the death penalty should be retained? I thought you wanted to know the views of the majority of Malawians?

  11. o'neil says:

    the rehearing is timely because most of those on death row got judged during top down rule which was biased towards state machinery. and in our democracy death cannot be effected to a prisoner for lack of provision, so go ahead my learned country men!

  12. Tengupenya says:

    The judiciary is usurping executive powers here. If the legislators have failed to amend a law the judiciary considers unconstitutional, then the judiciary must order the amendment. The legislators act according to the wishes of the electorate. The electorate want to maintain the death penalty in its current form, that is why the legislators have not amended the law. The executive can be impeached for not performing its duty here. The duty is to either sign the death warrants or to commute the mandatory death sentences. There is no fence to sit on here. Legislators, wake up and make the call for the people. Either the presidents sign the warrants/commute the mandatory death penalty or we the people will fight the judiciary who are crossing the limits, by usurping executive powers in a subtle and transparent manner. Three presidents in a row have slept on this one. Do not test the mood of the voters. Do not put law enforcement on direct conflict with un satisfied public. Who will stop public outcry when police will have to contend with a public taking the law in its own hands? The people themselves will kill criminals, any criminal if this is not prudently handled. The mood is clearly as we say.

  13. Thank you tamva nawo Ok noted with no shock

  14. Tengupenya says:

    Malawi sadzatheka. It criminalizes love between consenting same sex adults and frees convicted murderers because the presidents are weak and unwilling to sign death warrants. If the presidents do not commute the death sentences, they must sign the death warrants. If the legal penalty of mandatory death sentence is unconstitutional yet the legislators do not amend the law, then the courts must order amendment of the law. If the courts do not order amendment, the law must take its full course. Has the judiciary usurped executive powers here?

  15. wodzichepetsa says:

    Atulutseni titawanyonge ndife kunja kuno poti nafenso will be reheard

  16. Mawa ndiwe says:

    munthu ophedwayo ananyamula mipaliro , nkhwangwa zibonga kuti anathane ndi gulu koma pamapeto polimbana naye iyeyo wazibongayo wapezeka kuti waphedwa ndiye. pamapeto ndigwira anthu amene sanatenge zibonga kunena kuti mwapha munthu pamenepo pali chilungamo ? milandu imeneyo anthu ena ali kumeneko kamba kakhani zimenezo.

  17. Nkhedu says:

    Thats why I said kugwira anthuwa ngati amenewa kumangokonza basi.

  18. Charombanthu says:

    Nanunso a ma court, in this day and age you mean you do not have electronic files for these matters?? Kumatinamiza kuti ma file akusowa zoona?? We are not children. Pali azibale anu pazifwambapo eti… Keep electronic copies and archive them safely where they cannot be destroyed or at least if one copy is destroyed in one location, you can always retrieve a safe copy elsewhere.

  19. chiwa kogoya says:

    country without justice !!!!!

  20. chiwa kogoya says:

    what kind of laws are these? what about those who were killed? zinazitu musamazitengele pa mutu tikukuonanitu mwina mwalandila ziphuphu eti? watch out !!!!!!!

  21. Chimkhalo says:

    The releasement of these people is a very painful action to those who lost their beloved ones. A wrong way of promoting human rights.Do you want to tell the Malawi nation that the first judgement they recieved was not right? money&human life what is important?

  22. Eliam k says:

    What about the deceased’s relatives reaction to see the one who murdered their relative scott free, diso kwa diso wooo

  23. johnM says:

    I don’t understand this. What kind of human rights is this anyway? Should we be happy that convicted killers, murderers are now free to roam among us? Malawi’s justice system is really going to the dogs.

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