20 years jail sentence to 2 men for abducting man with albinism

Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate Court has convicted and sentenced two men to 20 years each for abducting a 24 year old man with albinism.

The two, Francis Dick, 23 and John Kapale, 35 abducted the man with the intention to sell him at K20 million to a business man at Ntanja Trading Center in Machinga in October last year (2017).

Eastern Region Police Prosecuting Officer, Senior Superintendent Dickens Mwambazi told the court Dick and Kapale approached a businessman at Ntaja and offered him a person with albinism at K20 million (Twenty million kwacha).

The businessman reported the matter to Ntaja Police where he was advised by the police to discuss with the two men to bring the man alive, according to the prosecutor.

He added that Dick and Kapale abducted the young man at Chiunda Village in the area of Traditional Authority Chikowi in Zomba after convincing him that a businessman wanted to employ him.

“The Ntaja businessman and the two kept on communicating on the deal and when the two entered Machinga, he informed the police that the two were bringing him the person with albinism for sale,” Senior Superintendent Mwambazi told the court.

The two were then arrested as they were handing over the young man with albinism to the businessman at Ofesi Trading Center, 30 kilometers before Ntaja in Machinga.

Police at Ntaja therefore charged them with abduction with intent to murder count on the two men which is contrary to Section 261 of the Penal Code.

Dick and Kapale pleaded not guilty to the charge thereby compelling the state to bring in witnesses that testified against them.

The two later pleaded guilty after the state proved that the two committed a serious offence.

The prosecutor asked the court for an immediate custodial and stiffer penalty considering the seriousness of the case and violation of the victim’s rights.

“This clearly shows that had it not been that they were told to bring the young man alive, Dick and Kapale would have killed the young man,” Senior Superintendent Mwambazi said as he insisted for a stiffer penalty.

He said Sections 16 and 20 of the Malawi Constitution provide the right for all despite skin colour or other social or biological factors.

Passing sentence after convicting the two, Senior Resident Magistrate Texious Masoamphambe said the state was right that people with albinism have the right to life like any other person.

He said what Dick and Kapale did was inhuman and that the two deserved a stiffer penalty to stop would be offenders.

Dick who is related to the young man with albinism comes from Chiunda Village in Traditional Authority Chikowi in Zomba while Kapale comes from Phulanya Village in the area of Traditional Authority Nkanda in Mulanje.

Zomba District Social Welfare Office has since condemned the abduction of the young man saying the act is a serious human rights violation.

District Social Welfare Officer for Zomba, Stefano Joseph said his office carries out meetings in the district to sensitize people on the rights of people with albinism.

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