“They must spend the remainder of their lives under incarceration, with hard labour, until they die,” Malawi High Court Judge Prof Kapindu ruled.
Kenneth Moses, Steven Lipiyasi and Ulema Mwangomba were part of a gang who, in May 2016, attacked and killed Fletcher Masina who, the judge noted, was a “good hardworking committed family man”.
“He had four children. They were the apples of his eye.
“He was attacked and brutally murdered simply because he was a person with albinism,” the Judge said.
“They killed him for his body parts.
“This murder added to the number of other tragic murders of persons with albisinsm as a result of mythical, supernatural, ritualistic beliefs.”
Judge Kapindu said the government should heighten awareness among the public of the folly of such attacks.
“They callously and barbarously attacked Masina in the garden with crude weapons such as hammers, pangas and wooden rods, ruthlessly clubbing him to death.
“Mr Fletcher Masinos’s soul seeks justice. His family seeks justice. And they deserve justice.”
The Judge said Masino’s wife had asked that they be sentenced to death.
“The court must impose sentences that are meaningful. And send a clear message that such crimes will not be tolerated.
“The murder was incontestably heinous. Such killings have caused too much anguish and anxiety among persons with albinism.
“However, if deterrence and protection of society is possible by the imposition of life-long prioson terms then such sentencing should be preferred and the death penalty should be avoided,” he said.
“Indeed it has been argued elsewhere that a person sentenced to a term of life-long imprisonment arguably suffers a sterner punishment because such a sentence entails only hopeless painful years from day to day, month to month, stretching out forever and in agony for the sentenced convict.”
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