Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has adjourned to a later date the public hearing into allegations of torture and inhumane treatment of Blantyre resident Yohane Mkoko while in custody at Ndirande Police Station.
Speaking yesterday during the hearing, leader of the panel commissioner Sunduzwayo Madise said the adjournment has been done to accommodate witnesses who were unable to make it.
Two of the six witnesses lined up to testify, including Mkoko, did not turn up. The other absentee was Sergeant Simon Mwase, who was custodian at the police station when Mkoko was arrested.
First to testify yesterday was Superintendent Jeffrey Maeni who admitted that there was a breakdown of communication within the chain of command during the time Mkoko was held in police cell.
The second testimony was given by the victim’s sister-in-law, Alice Masamba, who stated that she only knew about Mkoko’s arrest on May 25 when she received a call from that he was hospitalised after his release on bail.
The third witness was the victim’s sister Silvia Mkoko, who had been his caretaker during his stay in the hospital.
She said: “Mkoko had to undergo surgery and that no police officer came to check on the victim during his entire stay in the hospital.”
The victim’s father Alick Mkoko also gave his testimony.
In an interview, MHRC spokesperson Kate Kujaliwa said they are satisfied with the progress made in the public hearing.
She said: “The witnesses have provided us with necessary information, and now we will move forward to come up with a report.”
Mkoko is said to have faced mistreatment and torture at the hands of the police at Ndirande Police Station.
He was arrested on May 19 on allegations of theft of alcoholic beverages.