Nsanje Magistrate’s Court on Friday denied bail to Eric Aniva, the Nsanje man who confessed to defiling more than 100 adolescent girls as part of initiation rites into womanhood and sleeping with widows in a sexual cleansing ritual when he was HIV positive.
Aniva, 45, was nabbed last month, when President Peter Mutharika ordered his arrest, after he admitted to the act during a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television interview on July 21.
He revealed that families paid him between to have sexual intercourse with their children, in a traditional custom meant to prepare them to become good wives.
Nsanje First Grade Magistrate Anderson Masanjala denied the ‘hyena’ man bail saying “it is wise for Aniva to remain on remand so that police can finish their investigation.”
Aniva was formally charged with ta case of prohibited harmful act which is contrary to Section 5 of the Gender Act.
He appeared before a packed courtroom without a lawyer, because he could not afford one.
But Malawi Law Society (MLS) has offered to represent in court Aniva.
Lawyer Mandala Mambulasa, a representative from MLS came appeared before the Nsanje Magistrate’s Court to alert the court that the Constitutional body wants to represent Aniva, who comes from Chiphwembe Village in Traditional Authority(T/A) Malemia.
Mabulasa said MLS will represent Aniva on pro-bono service (free ).
Frist Grade Magistrate Masanjala said one reason for denying bail was to ensure MLS reaches him in police custody.
““Bail is a constitutional right and any case is bailable. However, since MLS is interested to offer pro-bono legal representation, I am not giving you a bail so that the lawyers are able to reach you because it might be difficult for them to meet you while in the village,” said the magistrate.
Aniva’s trial will resume on August 15 and he could be jailed for life if found guilty of underage sex.