European Union (EU) has described the death penalty as evil and urged Malawi to abolish it.
Deputy EU Ambassador AurelieValtat said this at Zomba Central Prison on Wednesday during commemoration of World Day Against Death Penalty.
She said: “Death penalty is not a solution to any problem. It is a cruel treatment that puts a person into psychological torture and trauma to families.”
Valtat appealed to Malawians to continue lobbying for the abolition of death penalty so that those accused should not feel rejected.
Reprieve consultant Alex Kamangila, whose organisation fights against death penalty worldwide and organised the commemoration in conjunction with EU, said there is no justice without life.
“Death penalty is not justice because everyone has a constitutional right to life. It is pure revenge, an eye for an eye which should end,” he said.
During the commemoration, the delegation was led to the Condemned Cells (CC) where prisoners on death row complained about inconsideration.
One of the inmates, PhinzaKuchande, said their colleagues benefitted from the British Government-funded Kafantayeni Project which helped convicts on death row to be retried, resulting in some having their sentences reduced.
“This is no longer happening which is unfair. The officers here [prison warders] keep on telling us that we should not lose hope because the President, who is the only hope left, will pardon us. For how long are we going to wait? ” he said.
Zomba Central Prison officer in-charge Thom Ntute said the prison has 19 inmates on death row.
Chief Commissioner of Prisons WandikaPhiri assured the delegation of the service’s support on death penalty.
“Whatever path you will take on the death penalty, we will follow it. However, know that being in prison is not the end of life,” she said.
During the ceremony, some inmates who were on death row but were released through the Kanfantayeni Project shared their prison experiences, their release and how they are coping with life outside prison.