July 20 killings: Ruling on bail application for Malawi Cops on murder rap Monday

The High Court in Blantyre has adjourned to Monday where it will rule on bail application  for five police officer amongst the nine arrested officers are in connection with the deaths of 20 people during the July 20, 2011 nationwide anti-government demonstrations.

The case has been committed to the High Court where they will face murder charges.

Justice John Chirwa differed the ruling after hearing bail application by defense lawyer, Lusungu Gondwe in a chamber.

The case was committed to the High Court on Thursday by the Blantyre Magistrates Court soon after formally charging the officers with murder.

Trigger happy police officers facing murder rap
Trigger happy police officers facing murder rap

Meanwhile, the five officers, Paul Mussa, Kelvin Nyirenda, Benedicto Dzombe, Mohomed Kulusinje and Lemekezo Mikuti, all from Ndirande police sub-station, have been committed on remand to Chichiri Prison.

According to Southern Region Police Public Relations Officer, Nicholas Gondwa, the law-enforcers arrested fellow officers last Sunday seven months after recording caution statements from them.

Four officers who were arrested Wednesday in Lilongwe appeared before Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Ruth Chinangwa Thursday morning where their cases were committed to the High Court

The arrest of the nine police officers is in response to the findings of a Commission of Inquiry appointed by former president late Bingu wa Mutharika but whose results came out in July 2012 under Pres. Joyce Banda’s administration.

The findings faulted police for the deaths of 20 people and called for the investigation and prosecution of those involved.

The inquiry also established that the police lacked sufficient non-lethal weapons which resulted in use of lethal weapons.

At least 20 people died during the anti-Bingu wa Mutharika demonstrations after being shot at by police as unarmed citizens took to the streets to protest against the country’s then worsening economic situation and fears that the government was restricting citizens’ rights.

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