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Malawi Attorney General Silungwe challenged to consolidate charges against suspects

Namiwa tells Silungwe to consolidate charges against suspects

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s civil rights body Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) on Friday, August 28, 2020 appealed to Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe to consolidate charges against suspects than keep on arresting suspects on different charges.

The grouping has cited former President Peter Mutharika’s personal bodyguard Norman Paulosi Chisale, and another suspect by the name of Mr. Isaac Jomo Osman whom have both been arrested four times and three times back to back respectively.

In a letter to AG Silungwe and made available to The Maravi Post, CDEDI’s Executive Director advises the prosecuting agencies to consolidate all the charges for all the suspects to avoid attracting unnecessary fear and panic.

It is our hope, therefore, that your swift intervention on this matter, and subsequent matters of similar nature in future, will continue to earn the respect it deserves, and that the public will continue to have trust in the credibility of the office of the Attorney General.

“As things are, however, your office risks losing its credibility since we are made to believe that this perceived political prosecution has the blessings of the government’s Chief Legal Advisor, in this case the Attorney General,” reads part of CDEDI letter.

Below is the full CDEDI letter to AG Silungwe;

APPEAL FOR CONSOLIDATED CHARGES AGAINST SUSPECTS

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) kindly writes to congratulate you, sir, on the way you have been discharging your duties so far in your capacity as the Attorney General.

Of late you have brought a new lease of life to this office.

We at CDEDI have in mind your timely advice to the Office of the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) where you fearlessly condemned it for making appointments that contravened the law.

You also recently advised the Presidential Committee on Covid-19 not to implement preventive measures which were stopped by the court through an injunction.

This has made CDEDI, and indeed all likeminded institutions, specifically the public to have trust in the credibility of the AG’s office.

That said, CDEDI is shocked with the way the State apparatus is handling suspects who are believed to have committed multiple offences.

We have recently noted with sadness the way the law enforcement agencies have handled suspects such as the former President Peter Mutharika’s personal bodyguard Norman Paulosi Chisale, and another suspect by the name of Mr. Isaac Jomo Osman who have both been arrested four times and three times back to back respectively.

CDEDI is aware that there is nothing unlawful to arrest people several times, but we believe it is an infringement on the suspects’ human rights, as well as psychological torture to keep on arresting them consecutively!

Such tendencies which are currently being displayed by the law enforcement agencies are giving an impression of political persecution, and they are reflecting very badly on the Tonse Alliance administration, for which you, sir, are its chief legal advisor.

We do not want to believe that your office, sir, has given the node for such tendencies to be executed by the security agencies.

If indeed such tendencies do not have the blessing of your office, sir, then we are afraid that we have law enforcement agencies in the country which do not respect the office of the Attorney General, a development that will in the long run plunge the country into crisis.

Once again, CDEDI would like to reiterate it’s earlier position that government is at liberty to prosecute all the people that contravened the law without fear or favour.

But these consecutive arrests have the potential to bring fear in the hearts of many peace-loving Malawians.

We further do not want to have a feeling that Malawi is now drifting into a police state, and neither should we be made to remember the dark past of the infamous one-party regime which was known for detentions.

It is against this background that we write your good office to consider advising the prosecuting agencies to consolidate all the charges for all the suspects to avoid attracting unnecessary fear and panic.

The consolidation of charges has been done in the past where suspects were brought to court with multiple offences and they were charged consecutively.

It is our hope, therefore, that your swift intervention on this matter, and subsequent matters of similar nature in future, will continue to earn the respect it deserves, and that the public will continue to have trust in the credibility of the office of the Attorney General.

As things are, however, your office risks losing its credibility since we are made to believe that this perceived political prosecution has the blessings of the government’s Chief Legal Advisor, in this case the Attorney General.

Yours Faithfully,

Sylvester Namiwa
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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