Commissioner of Police Evelyn Chisale, who was responsible for the Central Region, with 11 other police officers have been formally charged with an offence of murder in connection with the death of Buleya Lule, a suspected abductee of a person with albinism.
The 12 were arrested last Friday after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale directed that all officers implicated in the death of Lule be prosecuted.
Lule, 44, died in police custody in Lilongwe and was a suspect in the abduction and killing of a 14-year-old boy with albinism in Dedza.
The suspects were brought to court on Monday morning where they were formally charged before Lilongwe Principal Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba.
Magistrate Nyimba said his court has no jurisdiction for murder trials and committed the suspects to High Court for trial.
Nyimba has since thrown out an application by Enock Chibwana, lawyer for Chisale that his client and other 12 accused police officers should not be remanded in custody at Maula Prison.
The lawyer wanted the accused person to be remanded at the police station for fear that prisoners might seek retribution against them.
Chibwana applied to the court that the accused police officers should be remanded in police cell fearing that prisoners might take revenge against them.
But Nyimba concurred with chief state advocate Jean Piriminta that there was no legal basis for the accused officers to continue being kept at a police station.
Priminta argued that prison authorities have the mandate to segregate inmates upon noticing that the ones taken there are at risk of being mistreated by fellow inmates.
This means that all the suspects will be remanded in custody at Maula prison pending a full hearing of the case in the High Court.
Chisale is wife to personal bodyguard to immediate former president Peter Mutharika when he was in power.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) investigation detailed an account of how the deceased was taken from one police station to another by different police officers.
The report states that Lule died when Police Inspector Gama and other unnamed four mobile police officers took him back from the court to Lilongwe Police Station.
But before Gama was assigned to take him to the station, a police officer only identified as Kampira took him to court where he was seen walking with difficulties.
The report acknowledged earlier informal information that he was helped to board the vehicle by fellow accused persons.
It reads in part: “On arrival at the station, the victim was motionless. He was taken out of the vehicle on a stretcher and put at the custody bay. His eyes were closed throughout the time.”
According to the report, that was the time when Detective Sub-Inspector Bosco Matete, Sergeant Tambala and Constable Mathambo took him to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where he was certified dead.
Before he was brought to court, Detective Inspector Chavinda and Inspector Chiwambo took the suspect to Chisale and other police officers.
Others who took part in the arrest are Sub-Inspector Ikram Malata, while Detective Superintendent Chipole coordinated the interrogations at Chitsime Police Unit, but he left to attend to other issues, leaving Malata and others to finish interrogations.
Ombudsman Martha Chizuma, a commissioner of MHRC, said it is undeniable fact that the victim was tortured in police custody, as such police violated Section 19 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi which guarantees that no person shall be subjected to torture.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :