Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to institute investigations into the alleged assault of activist Joshua Chisa Mbele by Malawi Police officers.
In a letter to MHRC, HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said they received reports that Mbele was allegedly assaulted by officers of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) on Saturday while in Police custody.
“We prompt the MHRC, as the legally mandated institution, to institute investigations into this alleged police abuse and take appropriate action where necessary,” reads part of the statement.
Trapence noted that the 1994 Constitution of the Republic of Malawi protects fundamental human rights. Section 16 stipulates that: “Every person has the right to life and no person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.” Section 19(3) provides that: “No person shall be subject to torture of any kind or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Under Section 38, the Constitution says: “Every person shall have the right to assemble and demonstrate with others assembly peacefully and unarmed.”
The Malawi Police Service is addressed in Chapter XV of Malawi’s Constitution. “Its duty is to protect “public safety and the rights of persons in Malawi according to the prescriptions of this Constitution and any other law.”
Mbele was arrested during street protests against the government on Friday and he was temporarily detained at Area 3 Police Station before he was transferred to Nathenje Police Station on the outskirts of Lilongwe.
He was then transferred back to Area 3 on Saturday where he was allegedly physically assaulted.
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