Chisa Mbele allegedly assaulted in police custody, HRDC requests MHRC to probe

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has requested state-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to institute investigation into alleged assault on activist Joshua Chisa Mbele by the Malawi Police Service.

Mbele was arrested during street protests against the government on Friday and he was temporarily detained at Area 3 Police Station before he was transferred to Nathenje Police Station in the outskirts of Lilongwe.

Trapence–Rights are non-derogable

It is reported that he was transferred back to Area 3 on Saturday where, according to HRDC National Chairperson Gift Trapence, he was allegedly physically assaulted by the police.

“We have received reports that Mbele was assaulted by the law enforcers on Saturday while in police custody. As such, with the letter, we prompt the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), as the legally mandated institution, to institute investigations into this alleged Police abuse and take appropriate action where necessary,” reads part of the letter Trapence has co-signed with his leaders at the coalition.

The coalition cites the 1994 Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, which protects fundamental human rights. Among others, Section 16 stipulates that: “Every person has the right to life and no person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.”

“Section 19(3) provides that: “No person shall be subject to torture of any kind or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“Under Section 38: “Every person shall have the right to assemble and demonstrate with others assembly peacefully and unarmed.”

Chisa Mbele (in red t-shirt) and his colleagues marching against corruption and impunity in government

Trapence emphasizes that these rights are non-derogable and that the police are mandated to protect “public safety and the rights of persons in Malawi according to the prescriptions of this Constitution and any other law.”

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