Malawi court releases 8 prisoners on death row: ‘Kanfantayeni justice’

The High Court of Malawi has released from jail eight prisoners on death row after judges commenced rehearing their cases in February this year, according to local press report.

Malunda: Court files for the majority of the prisoners have been lost
Malunda: Court files for the majority of the prisoners have been lost

Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula is quoted in the local daily that the eight were freed after the High Court reheard their homicide cases between February 11 and March 23 2015.

:“I can confirm that the eight convicts were immediately set free after resentencing, right now they have been reunited with their communities.”

In 2007 the High Court of Malawi abolished the mandatory death penalty. In what become known as the Kafanteyeni ruling the mandatory death penalty was deemed by the bench as unconstitutional as it amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of life, denies an accused the right to a fair trial and the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment.

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is running a ‘Kafantayeni Project’  which aims at giving a second chance to 170 prisoners on mandatory death sentence to be reheard.

Resentencing hearings give prisoners the opportunity to present mitigating evidence before the court so that a judge may be persuaded  to hand down a sentence other than death.

The project is also being implemented by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Legal Aid Bureau and Paralegal Advisory Service International  (PASI).

Lawyer in Ministry fo Justice,  Dziko Ndianthu Malunda said the State “will have to reconstruct files to ensure that no one  is denied justice simply because of the missing file.”

There are 192 homicide cases pending resentencing out of which 22 have already been reheard. All the cases are being reheard at High Court Zomba District Registry

The Tilitonse funded project is also being implemented by Center for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance, Chancellor College Faculty of Law, Cornell Law School and Malawi Prison Service.

MHRC Executive Secretary Grace Malera said the cases will be heard on mitigation and aggravating factors.

The abolition of the mandatory death penalty in Kafantayeni and the fact that Malawi has not actually carried out an execution since 1992 puts the country in good stead to abolish the death penalty. Countries like Malawi that have made the transition to democracy increasingly see abolition of the death penalty as a necessary step to signal their commitment to human rights.

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George Lihoma
George Lihoma
6 years ago

The gateway for wealthy murderers. Pa death row patsala okhaokha osauka. Hahahahahaha.

M'doko
M'doko
6 years ago

You are just creating mob justice

Mike siliya
Mike siliya
6 years ago

Mob justice must provail!! Ufulu shud see no boundary, wophedwayo ndiye mukuganiza kuti analibe ufulu wokhala ndi moyo? An eye for an aye! Tit for tat fear game, fokolo!!!

ajijooo
6 years ago

Ndipo nsawaone alipinyapinya ndiwazimitsa we nid shalia law here zachamba eti

Scot banda
Scot banda
6 years ago

Mukulephera kugamula mlandu wa Alikaka chinemba wakupha akungoyenda town stupid!

Kotokoto
6 years ago

Chokani apa, wakumpha aphedwe, mbuzi inu.

Kadakwiza
Kadakwiza
6 years ago

What about the victim’s rights?

makarios makarios
makarios makarios
6 years ago

Njoka Mu Udzu

Masaninga
Masaninga
6 years ago

Kd kma akambilana ndi ananfedwa? Tikuziwa kuti lamulo ndichilungamo ndizindu ziwili zosiyana kma tiyeni tilemekeze olilao

maxwell Nsani
maxwell Nsani
6 years ago

A Law is passed by parliament and abolished by the high court? Where is the separation of powers here? What the court should have done is to declare it incompartible with the the supreme law of the land basi osati abolishing. And who said when you remove the death penalty you set the killers free? I thought the sentences would be commuted to life in prison? Or has the high court abolished that one as well. Poti chilichonse chonena mzungutu timatengeka nacho! Chonsecho in the USA, they are sentencing people to death and killing them by lethal injection or gassing.… Read more »

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