Police re-arrest Kasambara associates

Police in Blantyre on Tuesday re-arrested associates of former Malawian Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara, a prominent critic of President Bingu wa Mutharika, who were freed on bail.

Southern Region Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa confirmed Kasambara’s security team—Arthur Chikankheni, Mayamiko Kadango, Brian Magoya, Patrick Gadama and Ali Kaka—who were arrested with him were nabbed again.

They are being accused of assaulting a gang of regime thugs Kasambara claimed attempted to assassinate him.

Gondwa said Police re-arrested the five because “their bail was not duly granted” by the court.

He said police want to “formalise” their bail.

Chikankheni: Re-arrested

Background

On 13 February a group of men of five men carrying a jerry can of petrol arrived at h Kasambara’s office, asking where he was. Two of them ran away when Kasambara’s security team arrived.

The other three apparently admitted, after his security team used force, that they had been sent by government officials to attack the former Attorney General. The police then arrived and arrested Kasambara, his security team and the three remaining men.

Kasambara and his security team were detained and charged with assault before being transferred to Chichiri Prison in Blantyre. The three men who were also arrested at his office are apparently no longer in custody, having been driven away from the police station in an unmarked car.

Bail was granted by a Blantyre Magistrate on 14 February and Ralph Kasambara was returned to prison for one night. His release on 15 February was delayed when police arrived at the Chichiri prison in the morning with a search warrant and requested he accompany them to his office and home. He refused and the search went ahead.

He was released in the afternoon and returned to his home before being rearrested by armed police and returned to Chichiri prison.

Kasambara is one of a number of people in Malawi, including human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists, who have been targeted since the beginning of 2011 for criticising the government on issues including human rights, governance and the economy.

The lawyer published interviews in weeklies calling for the resignation or impeachment of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice, Anthony Kamanga told The Nation on Tuesday that no one has been assigned [Ralph Kasambara’s] case yet; hence it would be premature to talk about lawyers recusing themselves from the matter.

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