Nsanje Principal Magistrate Court has slapped Eric Aniva popularly known as “Nsanje Hyena” with 24 months custodial sentence on two counts.
Before delivering the sentence, Principal Magistrate Innocent Nebi said Aniva took advantage of the vulnerable women but also generated financial income performing his ‘cleansing rituals’.
Nebi said Aniva showed no remorse during the entire hearing process therefore the court had to take a tough stand to deter would be offenders.
“Such culture has no basis in the current constitution. Therefore, giving him a fine or suspended sentence is a mockery to justice. As such the court has sentenced you to 24 months for the first count of engaging in harmful practices and 10 months on the second count of attempting to engage in harmful cultural practices. These sentences are supposed to be served concurrently with effect from the day he was arrested,” concluded Principal Magistrate Nebi.
However the defense counsel Michael Goba Chipeta branded both the sentence and conviction as having a lot of errors appealing against the conviction and sentence.
“Both the conviction and the sentence have a lot of errors. On the sentencing, the Gender Equality Act of 2013 provides options of either a fine or sentence which the magistrate did not consider,” Chipeta said.
Moreover, he pointed out that the 100 women alleged to have been involved in the practice did not testify hence a fine or suspended sentence would have been ideal.
He added that culture has been there for over 100 years while the laws against engaging in harmful practices were enacted some three years ago thus it is inhuman to give Aniva a custodial sentence.
Dressed in a blue and white stripes golf shirt, Eric Aniva did not look shaken as the Magistrate was pronouncing the sentence.
Malawi police arrested Aniva July 24, 2016 on presidential order after Aniva told local and international media he was hired by families to have sex with more than 100 young women, including children, in what was described as ritual cleansing.
President Peter Mutharika ordered the police to investigate all men and parents involved in what he called shocking malpractices.
He allegedly ordered Aniva’s arrest on the grounds of sexually assaulting young girls; however, no one came forward to testify against him.
Aniva who also told the media that he was HIV-positive claimed to have had sex with newly bereaved widows as part of a “cleansing” ritual.
Later, Aniva was charged with harmful practices, which is outlawed under Malawi’s Gender Equality Act.
Only two women provided evidence to the court against Aniva during the hearing.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA.