MALAWI: 24 CAPITAL PUNISHMENT CASES GONE FOR RETRIAL, 5 REVERSED
March 30, 2015: At least 24 out of 192 death row inmates have been taken to the High Court for resentencing hearings, and of the 24, five inmates have had their death penalties changed to custodial sentences, Malawi News Agency has learnt.
Malawi Human Rights Commission Chairperson, Ambassador Sophie Kalinde said the project has recorded significant progress.
Speaking recently during a Judicial Colloquium on Mental Health Evaluations and Mitigation in Capital Offences in Mangochi, Ambassador Kalinde said it was ordered that all death row inmates convicted prior to 2007 should be taken back to the High Court for rehearing.
Kalinde said since the re-hearing of cases started in February this year, about 24 out of 192 death row inmates have been taken to court with five of the 24 ruled out.
âThis implies that all the prisoners would be able to present fresh mitigating evidence, an opportunity that they did not have when their cases came before the courts,â said Kalinde.
âDeath Row Inmates Resentencing Project was designed as a response to the Kafantayeni decision that declared the mandatory imposition of the death penalty unconstitutional as was provided under section 210 of the Penal Code,â she added.
Since the dawn of multiparty, none of the state presidents has consented to death penalties, resulting into convicted persons spending years in prisons without knowing when they would be committed to death.
Chairman for Judicial Training Committee Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale said the training was timely.
âConsideration of a suspectâs mental health status is one of the important factors in these hearings and this training will help us to interrogate and share experiences in dealing with mental health and intellectual disability as it relates to criminal trials,â Kachale said. (Sources: manaonline.gov.mw, 30/03/2015)