A former refugee from Congo has been found guilty on three charges relating to smuggling immigrants into Namibia. Abigail Bashala, who gave the court a list of illnesses with which she is afflicted as part of her evidence in mitigation, took money from desperate people to help them get into Namibia and to travel to Canada, though the flights to Canada never materialised. The court found she was part of a syndicate that preyed on people desperate to escape from war and start a new life.
Elements of the Ugandan state have been found by the high court’s anti-corruption division to have been responsible for brutal torture aimed at extracting confessions from two employees of the Uganda Revenue Authority. Judge Lawrence Gidudu, head of the country’s anti-corruption court, awarded compensation and punitive damages for the torture, but also asked some questions about the handling of the two tortured detainees that the authorities will find uncomfortable and difficult to answer. The judge further ruled that the conviction of the two men be set aside on the basis that no conviction may result in a case where torture has been used to extract a confession.
Victims of trafficking are sometimes brought to court themselves, charged with offences they are thought to have committed, even though this may have been in the course of being trafficked. Will you help with research into this problem?
A women’s rights activist in Malawi, Beatrice Matweyo, found by the high court to have been wrongly arrested during an anti-gender-based violence protest, has now been slammed for having carried a placard with a slogan including the local word for vagina. Lilongwe’s high court assistant registrar said the use of this word amounted to violence against women, and thus awarded her merely a nominal amount for her claim for punitive damages. Mateyo had claimed damages for false imprisonment and punitive damages as well as compensation for the violation of her constitutional rights. The registrar had the task of assessing the damages she should be awarded.
Lesotho’s political leaders have been given a firm message by that country’s high court: don’t try to use state of emergency powers in a sleight of hand to pass legislation that wasn’t finalised during Parliament’s normal sessions.