After spending almost a year and three months in prison, the infamous Nsanje ‘hyena’ Eric Aniva returns to court for an appeal of his conviction and sentence.
The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court in November last year sentenced Aniva to two years imprisonment with hard labour on charges of indulging in harmful cultural practices and an attempt to commit the same offence contrary to Section 5 sub-sections 1-2 of Gender Equality Act of 2013.
However, the application for appeal dated January 17, 2017 through lawyer Goba Chipeta indicates that the lower court erred in sentencing Aniva as the convictions on which the sentences were based were erroneous and wrong in principle.
“The lower court held that the practice of Kulowa Kufa is a harmful practice as defined under the Gender Equality Act, when there was no evidence supporting the court’s reasoning and conclusion,” reads the petition of appeal in part.
It also says that the prosecution had failed to prove an essential element of the offence and that the totality of the evidence before the court showed that Aniva’s conduct did not amount to the alleged attempt.
The High Court in Blantyre has since set October 10, 2017 as date that it will begin to hear the case.
46 year-old Aniva was arrested on July 25, 2016 following President Peter Mutharika’s directive. He hails from Tosina Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mbenje in Nsanje.
His story became popular following an interview he granted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on July 21 in which he confessed to have slept with 104 women and girls in a form of ritual cleansing. The revelations prompted Mutharika to order his arrest and that of all hyenas.