Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) officials have given the state up to 10 days to arrest police officers who were involved in the killing of Buleya Lule, a suspect in the abduction of a boy with albinism in Dedza.
HRDC vice chairman Gift Trapence could however not say what they will do if the 10-day ultimatum lapses without any arrest.
“If the State shields the police officers, we will explore other avenues. However, we will not stop pushing for the arrest of the police officers,” said Trapence.
According to an autopsy report by Dr. Charles Dzamalala, Lule, 39, was killed in police custody after being tortured and was later electrocuted.
Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said he could not comment because the police are yet to be served with the autopsy report although, he said, the police have seen it through social media platforms.
Legal expert Justin Dzonzi said the human rights defenders have the right to push for the prosecution of the police officers who killed Lule in police custody during interrogation.
“The CSOs want to keep the issue alive so that the culprits are taken to book. The government should act swiftly because this is campaign time and things might not work out in their favour if they do not act,” said Dzonzi.
The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) has also demanded immediate action from the Police Inspector General Rodney Jose, failing which they will take to the streets on April 30.
Apam president Overstone Kondowe said the report confirms their fears on the existence of an invisible hand in cases involving people with albinism (PWAs).
He said: “This was a third death of a suspect and we wondered why human rights bodies and government were quiet on these suspicious deaths. So we are saying, let the IG act on the report within 10 days.”
Two others, Donald Msafiri—a suspect in the abduction of 18-month-old Eunice Nkhonjera, a PWA in Karonga and Joseph Andiwotchi, a suspect in the abduction of Ibra Pilo, a two-year-old PWA in Machinga, mysteriously committed suicide.
Kondowe also said police officers who were in charge on the night of Lule’s death should answer charges.
“We want to know who did what and under whose instruction. We need an independent investigation because police themselves cannot do a thorough investigation on this,” he said.
Lule was arrested on suspicion that he took part in the abduction of 12-year-old boy Goodson Makanjira from Dedza.
Police arrested six men in connection with the abduction of the teenage boy and have since charged them with abducting to murder contrary to Section 261 of the Penal Code and unlawful wounding contrary Section 24 of the Penal Code.
The six, including the deceased, are Kumbilani Patson, 51, (1st accused), 2nd accused Sainani Kalekeni, 44, 3rd accused Lukas Kagomo, 36, 4th accused Katiya Mizeck, 42, 5th accused Buleya Lule, 44, and Wiskes Gana, 58, the 6th accused.
Buleya pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied accusations by Patson and Kalekeni that he knew the market for persons with albinism and that they gave him the boy alive.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :