Five Malawi police officers arrested on Sunday in connection with the death of two people in Blantyre’s Ndirande Township during the July 20 2011 anti-government demonstrations are expected to appear in court today to take plea.
The court appearance coincides with expiry of 48-hour rule today (Wednesday) within which the State was required by law to bring the suspects before court to be informed of reasons for their arrests and/or their continued detention.
Southern Region Police Headquarters spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said the suspects would appear at a court in Blantyre today.
Lawyer Lusungu Gondwe is representing the five arrested officers identified as Paul Mussa, Kelvin Nyirenda, Benedicto Dzombe, Mahomed Kulusinje and Lemekezo Mikuti, all from Ndirande Police Substation.
A high-powered team from the National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe travelled to Blantyre and arrested the officers on Sunday.
The five face charges of murder of two persons in Ndirande Township during the anti-government protests under the leadership of late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
The officers, from the day of the arrest and as of Tuesday, were being kept at the same Ndirande Police Substation, according to Gondwe.
During the rule of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2011, 20 citizens were killed when police, nationwide, confronted the unarmed demonstrators using excessive force and opened fire at them when they took to the streets to protest against shortages of fuel, foreign exchange and poor governance.
A commission of inquiry instituted by Mutharika, but whose results came out in July 2012 under the administration of President Joyce Banda who ascended to power following Mutharika’s death on April 5 last year, faulted the police for the deaths and called for investigation and prosecution of those involved.
Gondwe disclosed that police took caution statements from them in October last year, but made the arrests around 6 am on Sunday.
Bail application for the accused persons, according to their lawyer, is set for Friday at the High Court in Blantyre.