Appeal starts Oct 10 for  Malawi ‘hyena man’ who had sex with over 100 women for  cleansing rituals

An HIV-positive Malawian man Eric Aniva  who was b sentenced to 24 two years in jail with hard labour for having unprotected sex with newly bereaved widows and has  already served his half sentence  in prison, will have his conviction  and sentence reviewed by High Court judge in an  appeal set to start on October 10, 2017.

HIV-positive Malawi ‘hyena’ Eric Aniva was the first case to be tried under Malawi’s Gender Equality Act of 2013. Photograph: Eldson Chagara/AFP/Getty Images

Private practice lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta  representing Aniva, known in Malawi as a “hyena”, said he appealed  against the conviction and the sentence, saying the  Blantyre Magistrate’s Court errered in law  when in  Novembe last year sentenced Aniva to two years imprisonment with hard labour on charges of indulging in harmful cultural practices and an attempt to commit the same offence contrary to Section 5 sub-sections 1-2 of Gender Equality Act of 2013.

Goba Chipeta argues  that the lower court erred in sentencing Aniva as the convictions on which the sentences were based were erroneous and wrong in principle.

“The lower court held that the practice of Kulowa Kufa [widow cleansing ] is a harmful practice as defined under the Gender Equality Act, when there was no evidence supporting the court’s reasoning and conclusion,” reads the appeal petition of appeal in part.

The practice of “widow cleansing”, when a widow must have sex after her husband dies, was outlawed a few years ago.

Aniva’s lawyer also argues thatthe prosecution had failed to prove an essential element of the offence and that the totality of the evidence before the court showed that Aniva’s conduct did not amount to the alleged attempt.

Aniva, . 46 year-old,  admitted in a BBC documentary that he had had sex with women and girls in traditional “cleansing” rituals.

His case was brought to court after he spoke to the BBC about his role as a “hyena”. In parts of southern Malawi, hyenas are paid by families to perform a cleansing sexual ceremony with widows to “exorcise evil spirits”.

Parents also pay them to have sex with their adolescent daughters to mark their passage into adulthood.

He was arrested on July 25, 2016 following President Peter Mutharika’s directive.

In sentencing, Magistrate Innocent Nebi said Aniva “had no regard to the feelings of widows, no regard to dignity of women and it is even doubtful that condoms were used … Such a culture has no place in Malawi.”

Despite some success in reducing HIV prevalence rates in Malawi, more than 9% of the country’s 15- to 49-year-olds are infected with the virus.

Aniva  hails from Tosina Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mbenje in Nsanje.


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6 years ago

Munthuyu ndiwamtima wothandiza that’s why makolo anakampemha kutiawakulitsile wana he isn’t aware of the British law that we took from London he is aware of his culture from the lowershire.makolo gave him money unaware too of the law.the law is so foreign and not well familiar to them.makolo thanked him with money.even that he has HIV he is an illiterate traditionalist who believes in tribal rituals or medicine therefore lab tests and viruses are just curses. Educate the masses first .kwezani education

6 years ago

Mutulutseni munthu inu palibepo chomwe analakwa after all sikuti amawagwirira akaziwo

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