Three homicide suspects who were given bail are still in Nsanje Prison as they cannot afford a K30 000 bail surety.
This was disclosed at Nsanje Prison on Friday during a camp court organized by Sant Egidio.
Lawyer Alexious Kamangila from Reprieve, who volunteers for Sant Egidio, told the camp court that Paul Misolo, Standford Andrea and Mphatso Gangu were given bail on September 10 2019, but are still on remand for failing to provide the monetary bail sureties.
“The court asked them to pay K30 000 cash and K300 000 non-cash for two sureties, but they could not pay the money and are still in custody,” he said.
Justice Sylvester Kalembera, who presided over the camp court, advised the three to go to Blantyre High Court to present their cases.
One of the three suspects, who asked for anonymity, said in an interview that K30 000 is too much for him and his family, and that is why he decided to stay put in prison.
“We are struggling as a family. If we could not realise even K5 000, where can we get K30 000? Poverty is blocking my freedom,” he said.
In an interview, Kalembera said it was unfortunate that the suspects are still in prison despite being given bail.
“When we look at a suspect, we consider whether he or she is capable of paying the money as sureties. If we find that they are not, then they are given non-cash bail bond,” he said.
Kamangila complained that justice is expensive for the poor, which is not supposed to be the case.
“In fact, they were four in their group, one left but the three are still languishing in prison because of K30 000. Poverty is keeping them in the cooler,” he said.
There were 15 cases that were heard in the court. Eight suspects were given bail, four are pended, awaiting further submissions while three are the ones that were granted bail but failed to fulfill the conditions.
Kalembera ordered those that were granted bail to a bond of K30 000 non-cash, K300 000 non-cash to each of two sureties and that they should be reporting to police every fortnight.
The judge also ordered them not to leave Nsanje District without notifying Nsanje Police Station officer in-charge.
There was no bail application for the other three because they had not reached 90 days in prison as required by the law, after they were arrested on September 12 2019.
Both Kamangila and Senior State Advocate Felisters Francisco expressed satisfaction with Kalembera’s ruling.