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Malawi

'Witches' must be freed says Malawian group

Photo: Flickr - nchenga

A group in Malawi is demanding the release of 80 convicted “witches” from prison. Most of the convicts are women who were convicted for teaching witchcraft to children. They are serving up to six years in prison.

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“According to our understanding of the law […] the arrest of witches in Malawi is illegal,” says George Thindwa, head of the Association of Secular Humanism (ASH).

“They are alleged to have been teaching children witchcraft,” Thindwa told RFI on Saturday. “The community leaders take them to the police and then the police take them to court.”

Thindwa is taking up their case with authorities and says that if legal action fails his organisation will petition for their pardon and release.

Most of the so-called “witches” are convicted under other charges since witchcraft is not recognised under Malawi’s law.

The government has created a committee to change the law and criminalise witchcraft following public pressure.

ASH wants to raise 29,000 euros to pay for appeals against the convictions.

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