Author Archives: Charlotte

Chichiri Performing Arts Group

Last week the newest Malawi Bail Project activities started to take shape – over five days the dusty courtyard at the back of the Chreaa offices became full with song, stomping and stories. The group of 12 ex-prisoners who used to be in the Chichiri Performing Arts group met to develop a play about bail in Malawi. Each day would begin with songs and games we learnt while working together in prison, the same rituals but now outside with no prison uniforms or jangling keys Continue reading →

Chichiri Drama Group – Crowdfunder

This week in an outbuilding of Chichiri Prison, a very special meeting happened.  The Chichiri Drama group, a 25 strong team of actors, dancers and musician inmates gathered where they usually rehearse in the shadow of the walls surrounding the prison.  They sat and waited for thirty minutes or so, as one by one other men joined us – some wearing their best suits, others sunglasses and headphones, others arriving on bikes.  Each new person arriving was greeted with excitement and warmth, loud cheers, hand Continue reading →

Police Training 2016

Elton, one of our paralegals, blogs about our most recent police training session… Our training targeted Police officers with an aim of reminding them of the rights of suspects as stipulated in the Constitution (Section 42 (2) (e)), Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code and in the Bail Guideline Act 2000. Every accused or suspect has a right to be released with or without bail at Police or court. The training was attended by twenty six (26) Police officers from different departments of the Police who deal Continue reading →

Fair Trials International guest post: arbitrary arrests and detention in Malawi

On 20th of May this year, Malawi held its first tripartite elections. The leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Peter Mutharika, younger brother to the late President Bingu Mutharika, won the election by 34.6% of the vote. In anticipation of public unrest prior to and post elections, there has been an increase in the use of routine ‘sweeping’ exercises, carried out by the Malawi Police Service and Malawi Defence Force soldiers. ‘Sweeping’ exercises, deemed by the government to be an essential practice in the reduction Continue reading →

Justice delayed is Justice denied

The Strike Since my arrival in Malawi almost three months ago, all 200 courts, from the Supreme Court to the Magistrate’s Courts, have remained closed.  After negotiations in 2005, Parliament promised the court staff a salary increase of 50%, to come into effect in 2006.  However, as six years have passed without any sign of the approved pay rise, the court staff understandably felt there was no alternative other than to go on strike.  Negotiations with the Judicial Services Commission have been ongoing since January, Continue reading →