It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. ~ Thomas Jefferson


C himunthu Banda, Hetherwick Ntaba, Vuwa Kaunda - government's spokesmen muddying human rights with the gay issue

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Another victory for ASH

Yohane Belita has been released by the High Court in Zomba today, 17th March. She is on her way to Lilongwe from Zomba. She will be a visitor to ASH Executive Secretary George Thindwa's home on Sunday. The appeal case had been dragging. ASH assisted by ensuring that the lawyer quickly deposited the documents of appeal and also paid travel costs for the son to be at the High Court in Zomba..

This is Yohane Belita's story:

Belita Yohane; Balaka Court.Case No. 427/2009, Balaka District.  Age 63; Offence:  Witchcraft; Sentence- 4 years imprisonment.

Belita was accused of teaching children witchcraft in November 2009. It is alleged that she was transforming them into pigs, chickens and ducks before taking them to a graveyard. Yohane denied the charge.  Modetsa Petro and Alice Umali and their children are the ones that accused her of being a witch and practicing witchcraft. These ladies organized people to beat Belita Yohane. Well wishers took Yohane to Balaka Police.

Rather than helping her, the police charged her with pretending witchcraft. Her accusers who committed an offence in line with section 4 of Malawi's Witchcraft Act were not prosecuted. Her accusers were instead used as state witnesses. The children and their mothers testified against her. At her trial, the Magistrate commented that her sister was also a witch. Clearly, Yohane could not get a fair hearing under the circumstance. She was found guilty and was convicted to 4 years imprisonment with effect from 25 November 2009. She was serving her sentence at Zomba Central Prison.

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