NAP Condemns Police for misusing cyber security law to silence dissent

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Kamlepo Kalua

The National Advocacy Platform (NAP) has condemned the controversial arrest and detention of Kamlepo Kalua, MP, political activist Bon Kalindo, and most recently, Kondwani Chimbirima Gondwe by the Malawi Police. 

According to the statement released by NAP Chairperson Benedicto Kondowe, these arrests, unprecedented since the tragic plane crash involving the Vice President and eight others, appear to constitute a blatant violation of fundamental human rights, undermining the rule of law and the integrity of the justice system.

Benedicto Kondowe
Kondowe: We are concerned.

“The arrests, conducted under the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act of 2016, misuse this law to infringe upon constitutional rights to freedom of speech, expression, and opinion. Section 42(2) of Malawi’s Constitution mandates prompt notification of reasons for arrest and a court appearance within 48 hours-principles ignored in these cases. Sections 87 and 88 of the Act criminalize electronic communication without clear standards, risking arbitrary enforcement and stifling legitimate dissent,” said Kondowe.

Kondowe further noted that as NAP they are deeply concerned about Hon. Kalua’s arrest, based on a voice note allegedly made by Rev. Gondwe. 

“Kalua was arrested in Blantyre and transferred between three police facilities in Lilongwe, violating his rights and causing undue distress. Similarly, Kalindo’s and Kalua’s transfers to distant police cells hindered their lawyers’ and families’ access, raising fairness concerns,” said Kondowe.

According to Kondowe, detaining individuals without due legal process and adding charges without substantial evidence violate principles of justice and fairness and any charges against Hon. Kalua, Mr. Kalindo, and Rev. Gondwe must be substantiated by credible evidence and adjudicated fairly.

He continued to say that NAP emphasizes the importance of upholding human rights and the rule of law as cornerstones of our democracy. 

“Arbitrary arrests and detentions tarnish the government’s reputation regarding compliance with national and international standards and diminish public confidence in their

ability to administer justice effectively. The police must ensure suspects are timely granted bail or brought before a competent court to take a plea,” he explained.

Kondowe further demands immediate respect for due process and fair treatment.

“We denounce the misuse of the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act to stifle dissent and call for its urgent review,” he added.

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