Chasowa was murdered – inquiry

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Malawian student activist Robert Chasowa, a critic of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika, was murdered and did not kill himself as police first claimed, a committee of inquiry found on Tuesday.

Chasowa, an engineering student who was president of a youth rights group at the Polytechnic in Blantyre, which was critical of the Mutharika regime, was found dead at the campus last September.

Police had initially said he had committed suicide and produced suicide notes.

They were a fabrication according to Supreme court of Appeal judge Andrew Nyirenda, who chaired a commission of inquiry.

“The ultimate findings of the commission is that Robert Chasowa was murdered.”

Malawian President Joyce Banda was sworn in as President two days after Mutharika died of heart failure on 5 April. She quickly ordered an inquiry.

While no details of the culprits were given, Banda said they would “face the full force of law.”

“Let the blood of Robert Chasowa be a lesson to all, that taking human life is not a light issue,” she added, without giving details.

Judge Nyirenda said the findings were based on entire testimony of witnesses, which he said “in some instances were lucid and unmistaken.”

Nyirenda said a post-mortem examination report enabled the commission, which included a pathologist, “to determine, with a degree of certainty, the cause and circumstances of Robert Chasowa’s death.”

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