Thursday, May 05, 2011

(NYASATIMES) Two Ethiopian nationals die in Malawi prison

Two Ethiopian nationals die in Malawi prison
By Nyasa Times
Published: May 5, 2011

An Ethiopian national has died while serving a four-month jail term in northern Malawi for entering that country illegally, authorities have confirmed.

Prison spokesperson Austin Mwasangwale said the convict died of malaria Wednesday barely five days after he begun serving his 120 days of imprisonment with hard labour.

The deceased identified as 31-year-old Moradi Hadallo hailed from Dulame district in Ethiopia and was part of 126 Ethiopian and Somali nationals currently serving various jail terms at the northern region city of Mzuzu and lakeshore district of Nkhata Bay respectively.

Mwasangwale said the deceased was admitted at Nkhata Bay District Hospital after opening bowels before being diagnosed of malaria.

“His body is being kept at Mzuzu Central Hospital morgue. At the moment, authorities from various departments are banging heads on how to repatriate the body,” explained the spokesperson.

His death comes barely a day after police reported that another Ethiopian, Mulafu Abul, 26, had also died after complaining of general body pains and diarrhea and died two days later in hospital.

The 126 were committed to prison late last month after they failed to pay fines ranging from K5000 to K8000 (about US$32 to US$52) after the court found them guilty of entering the country illegally.

A few days later, the court slapped 74 more Ethiopians and Somalis with similar fines but they too failed to pay and were committed to same prisons.

Currently confirmed reports say Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay Prisons have 102 and 98 Ethiopians and Somalis respectively.

Malawi Police in the region have so far arrested about 200 Ethiopians and Somalis for illegally entering the country. Most of them, aged between 17 and 34, pay hefty sums of money to crooked Malawians and people of other nationalities to facilitate their illegal movement.

Generally, these illegal foreigners arrive in Malawi very exhausted and frail after walking for long distances spending days and nights with insufficient foods.

There are over 11000 refugees in Malawi who have been escaping from their countries because of hunger and wars.

Malawi prisons are ‘death traps’ for inmates plagued by overcrowding, malnutrition and rampant disease and that prisoners continue to suffer conditions which are generally poor; in some cases these amount to deliberate cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.–(Reporting by Felie Mzumara, Nyasa Times)

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