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News Release: Court sentences rapist cop to 30 years imprisonment

By 18 Jan 2022Criminal Justice2 min read
Blantyre, 18 January 2022 – Today, the High Court of Malawi sentenced former Police Officer, Andrew Chagaga, to 30 years’ imprisonment for rape of a minor in police custody.

Background

On 12 December 2020, the complainant, a 17-year-old girl, and her friends who were on their way to church were arrested for “idle and disorderly” offences in terms of section 180 of the Penal Code.  They were taken into custody at Limbe Police Station. During the night, the accused took the complainant to a secluded place where he raped her twice before releasing her in the middle of the night. She reported the rape to the Police, resulting in the prosecution and conviction of the accused for the offence. The matter was postponed to 18 January 2022 for sentencing.

High Court Justice Vikochi Chima, in handing down the sentence, said that the Court had to consider the effect of the offence on the complainant, pointing out that her rights to dignity and privacy had been violated.

“This case brings to light the violations that can happen when police use overly broad petty offences for nefarious ends. Vulnerable persons are often targeted for abuse by law enforcement officers under the guise of idle and disorderly offences,” said Chikondi Chijozi, Criminal Justice Lead at Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

This case was prosecuted by State lawyers, Eunice Ndindo, Trevor Mphalele and private prosecutors, Chikondi Chijozi from Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and Ruth Kaima from Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA). The case is part of ongoing efforts by SALC and CHREAA to hold police accountable for rights violations and to challenge the use of criminal laws to target and abuse marginalised groups in society.

Issued by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance.