23 April 2019

Malawi: Albino Body Issues Ultimatum Over Arrest of Suspect Lule's Police Killers

Malawi Police is now faced with another ultimatum on the arrest of police officers who killed in custody Buleya Lule, a suspect in the abduction of a Dedza teenage boy with albinism.

Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) has given the police up to 10 days to arrest the police killers of Buleya Lule or the members would take an unspecified action.

This is a third ultimatum after others from Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).

Lule died while in police custody in February this year and Malawi Police Service (MPS) Deputy Inspector General Duncan Mwapasa is on record as having stated that an autopsy commissioned earlier showed that the suspect had died of natural causes.

But another autopsy done by independent pathologist Charles Dzamalala released last week on Tuesday indicated electrocution as the main cause of death.

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said they cannot effect an arrest over the murder until they afofficially get a copy of the Dzamalala report.

Secretary general of APAM Ian Simbota said Lule is the third suspect in the attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism to die whilst in police custody, saying in all the other cases, the responsible police officers were not arrested.

He said after the lapse of the 10-day ultimatum period, APAM will make a decision as to the next step.

CCJP national coordinator Boniface Chibwana said in a statement dated April 19 that Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) should investigate and treat the case as a critical human rights issue by making recommendations based on its findings.

This rights commission is this week expected to release a comprehensive report on the murder of Lule in police custody having interviewed police officers who were on duty and those who were interrogating Lule on the night he was killed.

MHRC executive secretary David Nungu said his organisation is working on finalising its report following parallel investigations it instituted.

Kondowe said Lule's murder confirmed their fears of the existence of an invisible hand in the cases of people with albinism (PWA).

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