Malawi prisoners riot over pardon of rapist, murderer

There were chaotic scenes at Zomba maximum prison as inmates protested against presidential pardon of a notorious rapist and a murder convict.

The prisoners  broke free from their cells as they were pelting stones at prison warders and chanting anti-government songs.

The two are Eston Kuyiwenga who was serving 7 years for sexual assault who would have served time up to 2017and George Allan Nyambi serving a life sentence for murder.

Nyambi was convicted of murder alongside Chief Nyambi of  Machinga for murdering a man found stealing in the chief’s garden. The chief  already received a presidential pardon.

Pardon

President Joyce Banda pardoned at least 377 prisoners on Friday, July 6, as part of commemorations marking 48 years of independence from Great Britain.

Inside the prison facility

Banda said her clemency excludes criminals facing serious charges including rape or any sexual offenses on young girls, carjacking, armed robbery and murder.

“I have rejected 11 others on the list on grounds that they were involved in defilement cases,” she said.

“One of them has serious liver problem but we will bury him if need be because he knowingly doomed the future of young girl whom he raped repeatedly,” Banda told a national prayers event.

But the inmates claim amongst those who walked to freedom following the presidential amnesty, included a murderer serving a life sentence and the a rapist who are alll related to some top government officials.

Malawi Prison Service spokesman Evance Phiri  said they were only given  a list  from Ministry of Home Affairs  on who should be freed.

Ministry of Home Affairs however insisted that those that have been released had “served at least half of their prison sentences with good behaviour and were not convicted of serious crimes.”

Hunger strike

Meanwhile, all prisoners serving a life sentence at the facility have started a hunger strike to draw attention from authorities to intervene.

The hunger-strikers have a list of demands, top of which is to protest against severe overcrowding, degrading conditions, torture and other ill-treatment.

But many of those who will join the strike are seeking much more basic. Among other things, they are demanding improved family visitation rights.

They also complain that nutrition of prisoners in grossly inadequate.

Prison spokesman said f calm had since returned to the facility.

 

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