Malawi: HRDC Lawyers Battle for Bail - Trapence, Sembereka in High Spirits

HRDC has been organizing protests like these since May which have sometimes turned violent.

Arrested iconic rights activists Gift Trapence and MacDonald Sembereka are in very high spirits in two different police stations the law enforcers are holding them in Blantyre for planning a "citizen's electoral justice march" to the State House on 25 March.

Trapence is being held at Blantyre police station while Sembereka is at Ndirande police station.

In an interview with Nyasa Times on Monday, Trapence said after their arrest on Sunday, they were transported to Blantyre for undisclosed reasons.

He said they arrived in Blantyre at midnight.

On bail application, Trapence said their lawyers tried for a police bail but was not coming forth and are now at the High Court.

The two human rights activists were arrested in Lilongwe last evening barely hours after President Peter Mutharika warned HRDC that both the police and army will use "full force" to stop them from holding demonstrations at State House.

The police are still looking for the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Timothy Mtambo who has gone into hiding.

Prominent lawyer Ralph Kasambara says lawyers representing Mtambo, who is yet to be detained, should apply to court for pre detention bail under section 42 of Constitution as read with Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.

"Hope courts will grant it," he said.

Office of the Inspector General of the Malawi Police ominously describes Mtambo as "on the run".

It also claims that the three are being arrested for statements they made at a press conference on 6 March.

"By inciting people to seal the State Residences on 25th March 2020, the three committed an offence under section 124 of the Penal Code", reads the statement in part, adding: "The three suspects are fully aware that Section 103 of the Police Act prohibits any demonstrations or assemblies within a hundred metres from State Residences unless the same have been permitted by the State President."

More From: Nyasa Times

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