Chanthunya’s family condemns ‘murder trial by Malawi media’

Father of Misozi Chanthunya, a Malawian murder suspect currently fighting extradition from South Africa, says his family is traumatized by the arrest and continued detention of their son and that he is  subjected to “trial by media”..

The father, Dr Charles Chanthunya, accused the local media for “already trying and convicting” his 37-year-old child and portraying him as a murderer.

Last week, Misozi lodged an appeal to the South African Supreme Court against an earlier ruling made by the South African North West High Court in Mafikeng that he should be handed over to the Malawi Government to answer the charges.

The Malawian businessman was arrested on January 23, 2012 by the International Police (INTERPOL) in Rustenburg, South Africa where he had been hiding after being on the run for more than a year.

Prof Charles Chanthunya: Trial by media
Prof Charles Chanthunya: Trial by media
Chanthunya: Appeals against extradition
Chanthunya: Appeals against extradition

However, he appealed to the South African High Court against his extradition but his plea was thrown out and now he has a last chance at the Supreme Court.

But the father said his family was shocked and greatly affected with their son’s arrest and continuous detention as well as the media’s stand in portraying him as a murderer even before he is tried by the courts of law, insisting he is innocent until proven otherwise by the courts – under a fair trial.

“Our son has been tried and convicted by the media … and that has been very painful to the family,” Dr Chanthunya said  in an emotive statement on a local radio.

The father, who said had visited his child at Rustenburg Prison and was in good health, only hoped that justice will prevail during trial.

He said the family was surprised with the events because their son was a well-behaved child.

“When I lived with him in Lusaka during my time at COMESA, people were congratulating me, behaviour wise, that he had been brought up very well, the way any parent would love his son or daughter to be brought up,” boasted Chanthunya.

“He has two degrees. Misozi is not business tycoon but he was running our businesses,” he said.

He added:” We are surprised with the current events as parents… He is in Rustenburg Prison just waiting to see how the whole thing is going to end.”

The father, while casting doubts if at all his son indeed committed the crime, said he would not know anything “but it is something that sounds very strange to me.”

Dr Chanthunya said Misozi’s wife, Prudence Leboa, a South African wealthy business lady returned to her home together with their two children immediately after her husband fled the country.

Misozi is accused of gruesomely killing his pregnant Zimbabwean girlfriend, Linda Gasa, in September 2010 before allegedly entombing her in his private cottage at Monkey Bay in Mangochi.

Late Gasa, a student at the Malawi College of Accountancy and Misozi are reported to have travelled to the cottage to discuss the pregnancy issue which the fugitive wanted her to abort but she declined.

After his bizarre escape in Malawi, Misozi was reportedly co-habiting with a Malawian woman, 22-year-old Ria Evans, in South Africa until his arrest. The lady was also arrested and repatriated to Malawi last year.

Chanthunya’s escape was also linked to former President Bingu wa Mutharika’s daughter, Duwa, who was accused of having ordered the police to flee him.

At some point, late Mutharika assured the South African authorities that the murder suspect would not face death penalty if he was extradited to Malawi.

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