Letter: Malawi's treatment of political prisoners

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The Independent Online
Sir: Tony Kandiero, the Malawi High Commissioner, whose middle name seems to be Alice-in-Wonderland, stoutly denies that it is the policy of Hastings Banda to permit the torture or killing of political prisoners (letter, 20 July).

This came as refreshing news to Borders Group of Amnesty International, which has campaigned for 10 years on behalf of Orton and Vera Chirwa, held in solitary confinement, sometimes in leg- irons, deprived of all family contact and correspondence, and fed on what is reportedly a seriously vitamin-deficient diet.

For 10 years all letters addressed to the Malawian authorities, and to successive High Commissioners in London, have remained unanswered. The Chirwas' crime (for which they were originally sentenced to death, but reprieved after a worldwide outcry) was to found a peaceful opposition party, which was unacceptable to the Life-President.

Yours faithfully,


Borders Group

Amnesty International

Yetholm, Roxburghshire

20 July