Sentencing pregnant women in Malawi – judge lays down the law

The case of a heavily pregnant woman accused of stealing at a shopping centre has given one of Malawi’s judges the chance to re-state the law on sentencing first offenders and pregnant women. The judge quoted international law on the subject, as well as Malawi’s own legislation and prison inspection reports, some of which she had written herself. She pointed out that the country’s prisons did not have proper health care facilities for dealing with pregnant women or infants and that the infant and maternal mortality rates in prison were a matter of concern.

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Ndalakwanji Victor is one very lucky pickpocket. Two months ago she was convicted on theft charges, having stolen purses and jewellery from a couple of women at a mall. Arrested and tried the next day, she pleaded guilty.

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