Kasambara out on bail, to face trial Justice Minister says

Malawi’s minister of justice, Ephraim Chiume on Tuesday told parliament that President Bingu wa Mutharika’s first Attorney General turned stern critic,  Ralph Kasambara, should  be released on police bail because  he is not fit and well to continue being on ‘detention without trial.’

Police later brought bail papers for Kasambara  admitted at Mwaiwathu Hospital for heart ailment. He already has a bail duly granted by Blantyre Magistrate Court.

He remains in hospital for treatment.

However, the Minister told Parliament that Kasambara will face prosecution on charges of kidnapping and unlawful wounding.

Chiume said police were justified to arrest the anti-Mutharika lawyer, politician and human rights activist.

Kasambara being cheered by lawmakers Henry Duncan Phoya and Atupele Muluzi at Mwaiwathu Hospital

“He will still face trial on four counts that include abduction and unlawful wounding,” said Chiume attracting boos from backbenchers.

Lawyers protest

Meanwhile, Malawi Law Society says lawyers are planning to stage nationwide protests against Mutharika’s government over what they have termed its “total disregard of the judicial system”.

Malawi Law Society Secretary Jabba Alide said it was regrettable that the country’s rule of law and access to justice is threatened due to the government’s continued disregard of concerns raised by judicial staff.

“We have resolved to hold a nationwide protest in support of the judicial strike, force [the] government to free Ralph Kasambara and force it to start respecting the law,” he said.

Courts in Malawi have not been sitting since January when the judicial support staff started boycotting work demanding a review of their conditions of service.

In a twist last week, the courts sat to set bail for Kasambara, a ruling that was ignored after the police rearrested him claiming that the courts were on strike.

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