Malawi again de­nies bail to man paid for sex with 100 girls

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

NSANJE — A Malaw­ian man ac­cused of hav­ing sex with 100 girls and women in a se­ries of rit­ual cleans­ing acts, on Mon­day failed in his sec­ond bid to be freed on bail.

Prose­cu­tor Christo­pher Bo­toman op­posed the bail re­quest for Eric Aniva over fears that he could “in­tim­i­date and in­flu­ence” wit­nesses not to tes­tify in court.

Given the “na­ture and se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fence and the sever­ity of the pun­ish­ment if con­victed” it would “not be in the interest of jus­tice to re­lease the ac­cused on bail.”

The pros­e­cu­tion also said the 45-year-old — who has said he is in­fected with the Aids virus — was likely to jump bail and cross the bor­der into Mozam­bique.

But Aniva, whose first bid to se­cure bail was earlier this month, re­jected the idea, say­ing he was “not scared” to face trial.

Malawi, which has one of the high­est HIV in­fec­tions in the world, crim­i­nalises sex with a per­son un­der the age of 16.

If he is found guilty of un­der­age sex, Aniva could be im­pris­oned for life.

The lit­tle-known lo­cal prac­tice of hav­ing sex with ado­les­cent girls to mark their pas­sage to wom­an­hood is per­formed in south­ern Malawi by men known as “hye­nas” at the be­hest of a girl’s par­ents af­ter her first men­stru­a­tion.

The rit­ual is be­lieved to train girls to be­come good wives and pro­tect them from dis­ease, or mis­for­tune could fall on their fam­i­lies or their vil­lage.

Aniva is said to have slept with at least 104 women and girls, some as young as 12, in a rit­ual that lasts three days. He said each fam­ily paid him a fee of be­tween $4 and $7. His two wives were both present at the court house. “We want him back home. We are suf­fer­ing be­cause we have no food,” his 25-year-old wife Fanny told AFP.

“When he is around, we don’t suf­fer be­cause he is a man and he finds means to bring food to the house.”

His sec­ond wife, Sophia, said he had long aban­doned the “hyena” busi­ness.

“Thieves and mur­der­ers get re­leased on bail, but what is wrong with our hus­band?” she said. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.