Malawi

Tough court sentence could mark shift on albinism murders in Malawi

A high court judge in Malawi has sentenced a gang who killed a man with albinism for his body parts, to life imprisonment, and recommended that they not ever be given sentence reduction by the country’s President. Judge Redson Kapindu said life imprisonment was perhaps an ‘even sterner’ punishment that the death penalty, since the prisoner had ‘only hopeless, painful years’ ahead of him, ‘… stretching out forever’.

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Tough new approach to sentencing in child rape cases

A significant development is under way in Malawi’s high court judgments on sentencing in child rape cases. Three new decisions by a couple of high court judges show a clear determination to treat such crimes with great seriousness and for sentencing to reflect the gravity of the crimes. The judges have also made significant critiques of aspects of defilement cases, with suggestions for what can be done to improve matters.

Malawi joins growing trend outlawing death penalty

First, Malawi’s courts found it was unconstitutional for the death penalty to be mandatory in cases where the accused was convicted of murder. Now the apex court has found, by an overwhelming majority, that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional, and has ordered that everyone on death row must be re-sentenced. One member of the court dissented, without ever commenting on the issue of the constitutionality of the death penalty, finding that the route to resolving the appeal before the nine judges could be resolved in a different way.

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The route to scrapping the death penalty came via an appeal brought to the apex court by Charles Khoviwa, convicted of murder in 2003.

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