Malawi: Sentenced to death for killing an albino
A 28-year-old man was sentenced to death for having killed a 19-year-old albino to enrich himself. In court, the murderer confessed that he wanted to follow the instructions of a wizard from neighboring Mozambique.
“The death penalty is appropriate because it reflects the sense of justice in these circumstances,” Judge Mclean Kamwambe told the Malawi High Court.
According to him, the killings and kidnappings of albinos since 2014 had tainted the image of the country, reducing it to “a state of terror”. He says he took this court decision to send a strong warning to potential offenders.
In rural Malawi, reputed to be one of the poorest countries, belief in witchcraft is widespread. This favors ritual killings specifically targeting people with albinism, whose body parts are believed to increase wealth.
The case has become an election campaign issue fueled by opposition accusing the government of inaction, just days before the national elections. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) accuses the government of not doing much to stop the killings.
The government has promised cash rewards for those who will provide information on kidnappings and killings of albinos, which have reached at least 150 since 2014 according to the United Nations.
The mutilations and sacrifices of albinos are common in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa.