Lilongwe senior resident magistrate Florence Msekandiana yesterday released on bail 12 suspects arrested in connection with the Msundwe fracas following the State’s failure to justify their remaining on remand.
The 12 had their bail ruling pended on Monday after they pleaded not guilty to the charge of endangering safety of people by allegedly blocking the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road with tyres and stones on Tuesday last week.
In total 39 out of 43 suspects have now been granted bail after an irate mob stoned to death Police Mobile Service Superintendent Usumani Imedi at Msundwe Trading Centre on the outskirts of Lilongwe City.
Four are still in custody as police said they are the ones suspected to have murdered Imedi.
Reading her ruling yesterday, Msekandiana said there was no reason to deny the 12 suspects bail.
“The court has not found valid justification for not granting bail to the accused. The court is not convinced that the accused will likely commit offence of the same nature once bail is given. Therefore, each suspect is expected to pay a cash bond of K20 000 and each should have one surety who will give a bond of K100 000,” she said.
The 12 have also been asked to report to Lilongwe Police Station every fortnight.
Private practice lawyer Sylvester Ayuba James, who is representing the suspects free of legal fees, said he was satisfied with the ruling and hoped that the court will set dates for trial soon.
There are four suspects remanded at Maula and are expected to appear before the court to answer charges of murder bringing the number of all the arrested to 43.
On the fateful day, some community members at Msundwe were reportedly protesting against the holding of a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rally addressed by President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Lilongwe City.
Witnesses told The Nation last week that the protesters overpowered and chased the police officers who were clearing rocks and logs used to block the road and that Imedi was the last man standing in the commotion when he met his fate. In all, 43 people from Msundwe, Mb’watalika and Mpingu were arrested after the fracas and all appeared in court.