The Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) has offered to help a 66-year-old Mulanje woman sentenced to two years imprisonment for pretending to be a witch.
Third grade magistrate James Balakasi on Monday sentenced Eliza Davisoni in accordance with Section 6 of Witchcraft Act after she pleaded guilty to charges levelled against her.
According to Mulanje Police Station spokesperson Gresham Ngwira, Davisoni confessed to have inserted a tiny flying insect into his grandson’s throat which made him sick.
Ngwira said police rescued Davisoni during a commotion as members of the community tried to punish her.
But speaking in an interview yesterday, Chreaa executive director Victor Mhango said although the country’s laws do not recognise witchcraft, everybody who admits to practising witchcraft or accuses another of practising witchcraft is punished.
He said considering the age of the woman, it was apparent that she pleaded guilty to the charges out of ignorance.
“We will assist her to appeal. We believe she pleaded guilty to the charge out of ignorance and fear,” said Mhango.
Mhango pleaded with magistrates in the country to consider giving soft sentences to the elderly who find themselves in conflict with the law or use alternative sentences such as cautioning and community services.