Malawian woman Estina Mukasera, 30, has been sentenced to 24 years imprisonment after a court in Hong Kong, China found her guilty of drug trafficking.
The woman was arrested in Hong Kong after she was found in possession of 2 190 grams of cocaine in August 2018.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China with Executive, Legislative, and Judicial powers devolved from the national government.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Rejoice Shumba confirmed the development, saying government provided legal support for Mukasera.
She said: “Mukasera was found guilty and as per that country’s laws, she was sentenced to 24 years jail term. As government, our role was to ensure she was represented in court and her case was heard impartially. All that was done until the time of passing judgement.”
But Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba has written the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies to have Mukasera repatriated home.
HRCC has been pursuing the matter since the woman was arrested in 2018 and has previously engaged government to request the China to send Mukasera back to Malawi.
In its letter dated February 26 2021, HRCC appeals to government to engage the Hong Kong administration to secure an opportunity to have the Malawian woman repatriated.
HRCC has also written Ministry of Homeland Security, Inspector General of Police, director general of Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services and the Speaker of the National Assembly on the issue.
HRCC has maintained that Mukasera was a victim of trafficking; hence, “we can use her experiences to speak against the vice”.
“In the alternative we have been tipped of the exact person who was behind her errand and that the person was initially arrested by government in 2018. We call on the Malawi Police to review the suspect’s file and assess whether he has remained in the country or not towards undertaking to question him on this matter,” reads part of the letter.
But Shumba said like Malawi, the Judiciary in Hong Kong was independent and as such government could not interfere in the judgement.
She explained: “Malawi has prisoner exchange agreements with some countries but unfortunately, we don’t have that arrangement with Hong Kong. As such, it is difficult to commit that we will do anything.
“However, our bilateral relations with Hong Kong remains intact so that proposal can be tabled anytime. Further, at present our embassy there is monitoring the situation on the ground.”
In 2019, Mukasera gave birth while in prison. However, the past few months her case has dragged due to corona virus.