President Peter Mutharika has defended the arrest of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leaders saying their activities are “criminal”.
Mutharika made the remarks in Chikwawa where he launched the Shire Valley Transformation Programme Phase One at Chikwawa community ground.
HRDC’s chairperson Timothy Mtambo, vice chairperson Gift Trapence and member McDonald Sembereka were arrested this week for planning to close down State residences.
In his speech, Mutharika said Amnesty International and other human rights groups demanding the release of the activists should exercise fairness in their criticisms.
He said there is no way one would describe the activities of the HRDC as human rights because they have been destructive to the country.
“What they are doing is not human rights, it’s criminal.
“I am an international law expert and I have been teaching human rights law at reputable universities in the world and I know what human rights are,” Mutharika said.
He added that shutting down State House can restrict the president’s freedom of movement and is illegal.
“Then you are putting the president under house arrest, that’s treason.”
He then warned the HRDC that the Malawi Police and Malawi Defence Force will stop the protests if the organisation goes ahead with its plans.
Speaking earlier, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for the South, Charles Mchacha said Malawians and churches should be cautious with some of the HRDC leaders, saying most of them have a hidden agenda as they are the same people that were advocating for legislation of homosexuality in the country.
Mtambo, Trapence and Sembereka were arrested after announcing plans to hold demonstrations at state residences across the country on March 25.
The three applied for bail and a court in Lilongwe is expected to deliver its ruling on the application today.