Facebook newsfeed post by: Mzondi Lungu

Mzondi Lungu wrote:

RELEASE MR. RALPH KASAMBARA IMMEDIATELY The Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa (NNHRI-WA) is a Network of thirteen NHRIs in West Africa, non-partisan and not for profit organisation with Secretariat in Abuja, Nigeria. We have become aware of the series of violations of the human rights of Mr. Ralph Kasambara, lawyer, human rights activist and former Attorney General of Malawi. Information available to us indicates that Mr. Kasambara was arrested for daring to practice his profession as a lawyer. On Monday 13th February 2012 Mr. Kasambara’s Law Chambers were attacked with petrol bombs by State agents ostensibly to stop him from representing his clients who hold opposing views to that of Malawi government. The State agents were apprehended by staff of the Chambers and promptly handed over to the Police for investigation. Rather than protect the victim of this heinous attack, the Police turned round and arrested Mr. Kasambara on allegation of attempting to have sex with the hoodlums. His colleagues in Chambers promptly brought an action before a competent court and bail was granted to Mr. Kasambara on Tuesday, 14th February 2012. He was not released till the following as the prisons authority claimed no detainee could be released after 3pm. Upon his release on Wednesday morning, he was again arrested a few hours later and taken to another prison in Chichiri far away from his lawyers and family. The police alleged that there was a breach in the procedure for his release. They did not specify what the alleged breaches were. While his lawyers again tried to secure his bail, the police turned round to accuse the lawyers of having bribed the magistrate who granted the first bail. The lawyers have been directed to report to the police every week. Meanwhile, Mr. Kasambara is still in jail. We have just been informed that this victim is now hospitalised for a chronic heart condition apparently as a result of torture or inhuman and degrading treatment he has been subjected to. His family has no access to him and he is not allowed to see a doctor of his choice. In line with the mandate of the Network, we hereby call on the government of Malawi and its agents to: 1. Release Mr. Kasambara immediately by respecting his human rights and allow him unfettered access to his family and legal representatives. 2. Malawi should respect the Rule of Law, obey court orders and cease from applying Gestapo style of arrest and intimidation of persons and groups that hold alternative views from that of the government. Any person alleged to have committed any offence should be brought before a court of competent jurisdiction without delay with sufficient guarantees for fair hearing. 3. Stop immediately the spate of petrol bombing of human rights activists and opposition politicians. It is the duty of government to protect all citizens and not to endanger them 4. Stop harassing lawyers performing their legitimate functions of representing their clients. We have been assured that there are qualified lawyers available to represent the government in court for any reason. Therefore it is unnecessary to use extra legal means to settle any difference. A refusal to respect the Rule of law is an invitation to anarchy. 5. We condemn unequivocally the arrest of Mr. Kasambara, the intimidation of his colleagues in chambers and the spate of petrol bombing directed at human rights activists who themselves have not been involved in any violence howsoever. 6. We use this opportunity to encourage the Malawi government to respect its domestic and international human rights obligations by respecting the human rights of its citizens and obeying the Rule of Law.

Saka Azimazi For NNHRI-WA +234 803 451 1879 Azimazi@yahoo.com

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