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Three rights campaigners Billy Mayaya, Habiba Osman and Ben Chiza Mkandawire can now afford a smile after government compensated them with K3.5 million each for unlawful detention in October 2011.

The trio was arrested for their alleged role in masterminding anti-government demonstrations that were held in protest against late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s autocratic rule that characterized his second tenure of office.

They remained in detention for five days as their arrest coincided with a long weekend as the following Monday was a public holiday and when offices opened doors later, there was no magistrate to hear their bail application.

After the Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued the case for insufficient grounds to convict the three, their lawyer Wapona Kita commenced legal battles asking government through the office of the Attorney General to compensate his clients.

The court ruled that each one be given K3.5 million worth of compensation but the previous government of President Joyce Banda dilly-dallied the payment until the current administration took over power.

While Mkandawire opted to reserve his comment on the matter when contacted, Mayaya confirmed having received the K3.5m compensation.

“It has been long overdue but we are happy justice has finally seen light of day,” he said.

Also arrested together with the three rights activists were politician Brian Nyasulu and Osman’s cousin Comfort Chitseko but the former got his compensation during the People’s Party administration while the latter has been compensated now alongside the three human rights activists.


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